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Something most anyone can appreciate. - 87%

hells_unicorn, May 23rd, 2009

Although for the most part Dio’s 3rd LP “Sacred Heart” was a somewhat watered down follow up to “The Last In Line”, there were many positive elements at play in the album. This was even true with regards to one of the more commercial/radio oriented singles from the album “Rock And Roll Children”, though mostly from a lyrical standpoint. The riff material is extremely simple, even by the standards set by songs such as “Mystery” and “Rainbow In The Dark”. There are very few fills thrown in to vary the riffs, the keyboards have a strong enough presence to soften the punch of the guitars and the rhythm section, and all attention essentially focuses on Ronnie’s vocal performance and lyrics. Although more descriptive than metaphorical, the universal message of overcoming society and rediscovering love for those who identify with your way of life is powerfully presented here, and even more so in the music video this spawned despite the obvious campiness of the 80s sound that both the song and the video embody.

The b-side here is taken from one of the later gigs that the band played with Vivian still in the fold, and the performance that he puts on for this Philadelphia Spectrum show (a frequent stop for this band) is among his better moments. He doesn’t cut loose as much or take as many liberties with the solo as most of the ones who would fill his shoes do, but his performance is expressive and to the point in comparison to the original studio version he put together. Likewise, the consistent quality of Dio live performances by all in the band is very well maintained, though I think the keyboards are just a tiny bit too prominent on this version, though not nearly as much so as would be the case on the 1998 version that the band did with Tracey G on the guitar.

In much the opposite respect as the more pop oriented single that preceded this “Hungry For Heaven”, the title song has a cliché message which is presented in such a masterful and vocative way that it comes off fresh every time I hear it. I wouldn’t quite put it above the title song on “Sacred Heart” in terms of its musical content, which is definitely in tune with the formulaic minor key progressions of the time; the lyrical message is just a tiny bit stronger because of how universal it is. Not everyone can identify with a D&D take on overcoming hardships in life and taking chances, but I think that pretty much anyone can easily identify with the feeling of being an outcast.