Belinda Carlisle is my not-so-guilty pleasure. In the 80s, when I played in a metal band, she was a guilty pleasure — a secret. I certainly didn’t tell the guys I listened to her music. Not right away. They eventually found out, and after a bit of taunting, they got used to it. Once my secret was out, I never looked back. I’ve bought every Belinda Carlisle album available. I’ve read her autobiography (Lips Unsealed). It is a wonderful, honest look into the ups and downs that make up the fabric of her life. I think she’s hip. I don’t hide that anymore. I haven’t for a long time.
It started with the Go Gos, but to be honest, I never liked their stuff as much as I like Belinda’s solo work. I like “We Got the Beat,” of course. It’s hard not to. I like “Our Lips Are Sealed” too. “Head over Heels,” “Turn to You,” “Beneath the Blue Sky,” and Mercenary” from the third album are really good. My all-time favorite Go Gos tune, though, is “Vacation.” It’s a damn catchy song.
Belinda’s solo work is where the action happens. The first time I heard the song “Mad About You” I was hooked. Ran out and bought the CD right away. I also own the expanded edition that features an extended version of that song and three additional mixes of the song “Band of Gold.” That first album is still killer. “I Need a Disguise,” “Shot in the Dark,” “Gotta Get to You,” and “I feel the Magic” are just a few of the awesome tracks.
Her second album “Heaven on Earth” was as good as the first. “Heaven is a Place on Earth,” “Nobody Owns Me,” “Circle in the Sand,” and “I Get Weak” are all cool songs. Belinda doesn’t do a lot of the writing, but she knows how to pick songs that seem to have been written only for her to perform.
Her next album “Runaway Horses” is probably my favorite. “Runaway Horses,” “Leave a Light On,” “Summer Rain,” “Valentine,” and “Whatever it Takes” are truly awesome songs. Every song on this album is perfect.
“Live Your Life Be Free,” “Real,” and “A Woman and a Man” are all really good too, with several outstanding songs on each of these albums. “Real” and “A Woman and a Man” show a distinct change in direction while still maintaining her overall style. The only album I had trouble with was “Voila” because she sang the songs in French and, well, I don’t speak French. The songs are beautiful, though, and I do listen to the album on occasion. Music is universal.
What I really want to point out is how cool all the reissues and greatest hits packages are. Belinda doesn’t, for the most part, put out product we already have. When she does a reissue or a greatest hits package it includes lots of unreleased remixes. I’m not talking about slight remixes just to sell the product. You get drastically different versions of the songs, unreleased stuff, live stuff . . . I bought every reissue. Well worth it.
That’s it. I’ve said it. Mr. Classic Rock and Metal listens to Belinda Carlisle. It’s a good thing.