Today on Blogcritics
Home » Music » Music Review: Linda Ronstadt – Mad Love

Music Review: Linda Ronstadt – Mad Love

Please Share...Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on Facebook0Share on Google+0Share on LinkedIn0Pin on Pinterest0Share on TumblrShare on StumbleUpon0Share on Reddit0Email this to someone

1980 found Linda Ronstadt at the height of her popularity as her albums were selling millions of copies and she was headlining large concert halls across The United States.

No one can ever accuse her of not taking chances as, despite her massive appeal, she abruptly changed musical directions. While 1979’s Living In The USA sent her in a rock/ pop direction, Mad Love, released during 1980, embraced the new wave style of rock. Three compositions by Elvis Costello and three more by Mark Goldenberg of The Cretones gave evidence of this new direction. Her fan base followed as the album reached number two on the American charts, earning her another platinum sales award.

The album begins with the title track, written by Goldenberg, which is my least favorite song. While it does establish her new style, it is just too over the top for my taste. She fares much better on another tune of his, “Justine,” which contains one of the more powerful vocals of her career.

Two of the Elvis Costello covers are outstanding. Ronstadt's version of “Party Girl,” originally from Costello's Armed Forces album, just builds. And her take on “Girls Talk” is the best I have heard this side of Dave Edmunds.

The remaining tracks are both eclectic and in many ways successful. The only one that totally veers from her new musical direction is a fine cover of the old Little Anthony & The Imperials classic, “Hurt So Bad.” She delivers a powerful and soaring vocal, enabling it to become a top ten single. “How Do I Make You” is a rocker that she gets just right, making for another top ten single. “I Can’t Let Go,” an old Hollies hit from the Graham Nash days is given a different feel with her strong vocal. And her rocking version of Neil Young’s “Look Out For My Love” just draws you in.

Mad Love has aged a bit since its release as its music and Linda Ronstadt have long since moved on. Her rock phase may have lasted only three albums but it nevertheless managed to produce some interesting work. However, if I want to listen to some of her music this is not an album I would usually turn to. Still, it was nice to see a major artist actually take a few chances.     

Powered by

About David Bowling

  • http://marksaleski.com Mark Saleski

    you know, a lot of people dumped on Ronstadt’s rock albums but i always liked them. maybe it’s because i was a young ‘un at the time and wasn’t into her more folk/country side (yet).

    by the way, i saw her once with Emmylou Harris and when she did “Blue Bayou” it brought the house down!

  • ashford king

    i have really enjoyed your take on Ronstadts music, I am listening to her right now, she was and is an incredible talent, her music stands the test of time, thanks again

  • http://blogcritics.org/music/article/music-review-linda-ronstadt-mad-love/#comments David Bowling

    I saw her in concert somewhere around 1980 at the Hartford Civic Center. I don’t remember much about the concert but I do remember her voice. Just stunning!

  • http://marksaleski.com Mark Saleski

    i think i saw her when she and Emmylou were touring on that duo record. can’t remember the title but there was a minor hit on the radio called “Sweet Spot”.