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“Sacred Heart” is often criticized by purists as being a wholly commercial endeavor. While I personally don’t fully concur with this view being applied to the entire album, several songs definitely exhibit traits of a much tamer, keyboard oriented, and simplistic approach to songwriting. The most blatant example of this direction is found in “Hungry For Heaven”, not only for the formulaic and already somewhat cliché at this time approach to songwriting that sort of comes off as a simplified version of “Mystery” with a slight Bon Jovi feel to the keyboards, but in a very rudimentary thematic message in the lyrics of living life to the fullest. It’s essentially a positively based and less subtle version of “Don’t Talk To Stranger”, dealing less with the fear mongering of authority figures and more with giving advice on how to better enjoy life.
The b-side “King Of Rock And Roll” is something of an honest portrayal of the rock star as a powerful and influential icon for those who attend the concert, whether this is simply an ode to the awesome experience of a live concert or something deeper is anybody’s guess. Much like the title track it takes a simplistic approach to riffing, but applies it to the harder edged, speed injected side of Dio’s paradigm, sort of like “Evil Eyes” but without a lot of the turnarounds and a much less open ended chorus. All in all, it’s among the strictest of Dio’s speed metal songs, essentially skipping a bridge or interlude in favor of a basic verse to chorus with a guitar solo thrown in for good measure.
The principle flaw with this single, and more particularly the a-side, is the issue of staying power. “Hungry For Heaven” is fun in the same way that “Living On A Prayer” is fun when hearing it on those rare occasions when I give the radio a chance to redeem itself (it never does, for the record). But repeated listens see the song loosing its punch, for the most part because of there being no musical or lyrical surprises. It’s a fun listen occasionally, but I often find myself skipping over it for more “The Last In Line” styled songs on the “Sacred Heart” album such as “Another Day” and the title song.