Today’s POP RESCUE from a potentially loveless fate, is the 1987 debut solo album Heaven On Earth from Belinda Carlisle.
There’s little chance that anyone who has ever heard an 80s ‘best of’ compilation, or watched the likes of MTV, has ever escaped the epic sound of Belinda Carlisle. This 10 track album is home to 6 singles alone!
It’s no surprise to find that Heaven Is A Place On Earth is the opener, and it sets the stage perfectly for a complete 1980s belter of a 10 track album. Sleeve notes reveal that Belinda is joined on vocals by Michelle Phillips, formerly of 1960s group The Mamas And The Papas.
Next up is a beautifully mellow and catchy Circle In The Sand, which served as the third single from the album, giving Belinda another top ten UK hit. The pace and rich vocals from Belinda make this a wonderfully warm song.
I Feel Free is the third track, and it’s a cover of the Cream track. It opens with bass drums and a male vocalist. It’s harder than the other two tracks, and whilst it is familiar to me, it just feels a bit oddly placed here. This was released in the US only as the fourth single, but only reached #88 on the singles chart. The song ends with a fade, as horses gallop by.
Bass drum and acoustic guitar usher in Should I Let You In? before Belinda’s vocals arrive. This feels like a great companion to Heaven Is A Place On Earth, but was one of the few songs that wasn’t picked as a single. Belinda’s belting lead vocals, and the backing vocals, make perfect duelling partners against the lead guitars.
The brilliant 80s power ballad World Without You is up next, and this is a great little song that rarely gets a mention when you ask someone to name a Belinda hit. This song is really catchy, and has some great lighters-in-the-air-and-sway moments to it. Perfect. And unsurprisingly, Diane Warren was the writer.
Up next is another Diane Warren track – I Get Weak, and this was the second single from the album. It’s slower in pace than Heaven.. but this is a well written track, and the perfect follow-up. There’s some great vocals in here from Belinda (I always like her belting ‘I GET WEAK!’ moment part way through).
This is followed by We Can Change, and this is one of the four Rick Nowels tracks on this album. There’s some fantastically 80s guitar solo at about 2m 45s, followed by a key change with choir singing ‘oh! we can change‘, which is clearly evident.
Bursting in with guitars, is Fool For Love. This has a great 80s beat to it, accompanied with those roaring guitars throughout, but lyrically it’s definitely an album track.
Backed with what reminds me of the intro to Livin’ On A Prayer guitar, thrashing beats punctuate Belinda’s belting message that Nobody Owns Me. I would be very surprised if this song has never been covered. It’s a hard rock track, and certainly paired with the vocals and lyrics, this is a song not to be argued with. I think that this could probably have fared well as a single, but when 60% of the album was already a single, I guess they had to stop somewhere.
The album closes aptly with final single Love Never Dies. Whilst Belinda’s vocals here are flawless, the song is a bit weak. It’s slow, and lacks the energy of her previous songs. It stalled in the UK singles charts at #54, but thankfully by this point, she’d sold so many singles and albums, and a sell-out tour, that this wasn’t the end of her career.
The sleeve notes (which I always enjoy reading with CD and LP albums, and miss reading with modern digital music) reveal that Belinda is credited amongst the ‘Players’: ‘Belinda Carlisle: Air Guitar‘. I can imagine her rocking like hell.
This album deserves all five stars, twice over.
Where is Belinda Carlisle now?
Belinda Carlisle went on strength to strength, releasing numerous albums, with her seventh studio album, Voila, released in 2007.
These days, she’s often releasing ‘best of’ albums, anthologies, and performing, but recently her back catalogue was re-released as a ‘remastered and expanded special editions’, including Heaven On Earth as a three disc set.
POP RESCUE RATING
- POP RESCUE RATING: 5 / 5
- 1987 UK CHART POSITION: #4, certified 3x Platinum.
- POP RESCUE COST: £1.99 from a That’s Entertainment store.