Ann and Nancy Wilson have been among the strongest and best female rockers in the business for over four decades now. On Fanatic, their 14th studio album, the ladies prove that they are just as hard-rocking as ever. This is certainly the best CD from Heart since the ’80s in this reviewer’s opinion. Ann Wilson’s voice is as powerful as it has ever been, and Nancy Wilson still plays guitar with fire and amazing dexterity. Their songwriting (all songs were written by the Wilsons with Ben Mink, who also produced the CD) remains some of the most honest and emotionally resonant in pop music.
While Heart still can make a rock ballad and choose a great guest artist to help sell it, as with the song “Walkin’ Good,” on which they are joined by Sarah McLachlan, the sisters have chosen here to mine their personal history and emotions in blistering style. The first song, “Fanatic,” sets the pace with frenetic guitar and powerful singing. “Dear Old America” keeps up the energy, as do most of the songs on the CD. “Pennsylvania,” and”Rock Deep (Vancouver)” modify the rock just a little to emphasize the storytelling element.
It is not easy to choose standouts on this CD as all the songs are very good. There are no weak or disappointing songs here. However, “Million Miles,” the searing “Skin and Bones,” “59 Crunch” and “Mashallah” may be the best of the best.
Heart have lived the rock lifestyle. They have bared their souls and set them to their own original music for most of their adult lives. This CD shows that they are still doing that, and doing it with fire and class. Heart fans will be thrilled with Fanatic. It is as good as anything they have every done, and that is saying a lot.