Although glam had long slipped off the radar by 1981, that year found Suzi Quatro releasing one of her finest albums. With Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman (the producers behind her biggest hits) at the controls, Quatro and her band craft a series of songs that blend the hard rock power that fueled her glam rock era hits with a new soundscape that tarts up the songs with some ear attracting new wave hooks. The tone is set by the title track, which starts the album with a blast thanks to its effective combination chugging guitar riffs, a stomping beat, and a shout-along chorus that praises the song's tough female heroine. Other hard rocking highlights include "Glad All Over," a cover of the Dave Clark Five classic that uses a backbeat reminiscent of a squad of rolling tanks on its chorus, and "Lipstick," a kiss-off to a cheating lover that pits power chords against bubblegum-styled handclaps to create a beguiling fusion of pop hooks and rock & roll muscle. Even the quieter numbers manage to rock in their own way: a good example is "Love Is Ready," a mid-tempo invitation to romance that swings with authority over some soaring guitar riffs. Although it lacks the kind of single that would have put it over the top commercially, Rock Hard is so consistent and likable that it is tough to argue with. In short, Rock Hard is a necessity and a solid listen for anyone interested in what female-oriented rock was like before the advent of grrl rockers like L7 and Hole.
Rock Hard Review
by Donald A. Guarisco