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Beautiful Broken

Review by Gary Hill

This new disc from Heart is an interesting one. It includes several brand new songs along with a lot of revisits to old songs from the band. Two of the new songs have notable co-writers (James Hetfield of Metallica fame and hip hop artist Ne-Yo). Hetfields guests on his song, too. This disc is quite good. It’s not without its problems, though. For one thing, I think it leans just a little too heavily on the mellow end of the spectrum. I’d love to have heard a few more rockers in the mix. Secondly, some of it gets a bit too overproduced (mostly in terms of the string arrangements). Those are pretty minor complaints, though. Overall this is very strong.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2016  Volume 4 at

Track by Track Review
Beautiful Broken

This is really metallic. Of course, since James Hetfield provides some guest vocals (and co-wrote the song), that makes sense. This is a screaming hot tune and a great choice for opener. It’s like classic Heart taken up to “11.” There is plenty of melodic rock still in the mix. Hetfield provides both some backing vocals and a short solo part.

Going to the other end of the spectrum, this was written by Ne-Yo. The cut is a powerful ballad. It’s not the most Heart sounding thing here, but the vocals really sell it.
Sweet Darlin'
The string arrangement on this is a bit over the top. Still, this ballad is a powerhouse. Again, it’s the vocal performance that makes it work.
I Jump
Here we get another new song. This is a melodic rocker that feels like it could have come from a 1970s Heart album. Again, it seems to go a bit “string” happy. Still, the arrangement is strong enough to hold up under the weight of all those strings. I like the balance between mellower and more rocking stuff here.
Johnny Moon
I’ve always like this song since the original time it was released. It’s quite a mellow cut and works really well here. It expands nicely, and the vocals convey so much emotion. Some backwards tracked stuff mid-track is a cool, but also points out the slight over-production on the piece.
Psychedelic textures bring this into being. This is another cut that’s very dynamic. It really builds out into quite a cool jam. There are bits of prog rock built into this number. It’s one that gets missed by the “overproduction bug.”
City's Burning
A screaming hot rocker, this is one of the best cuts here. It has some bits that lean toward heavy metal. I wish they had left the strings off, but they don’t really go overboard with it. This is another highlight of the set for sure.
Down on Me
This bluesy rocker gets a great telling here. It definitely leans toward traditional blues. It’s another that completely escapes over-production. It’s a really hot tune. In fact, it’s another of the highlights here.
One Word
A mellower cut, I like this one a lot. It’s also not over-produced. I like the spoken section, but the whole piece is cool. This is another that leans toward progressive rock.
Language of Love
The strings return here, but somehow they don’t seem overdone here. This is a melodic rocker. It’s not quite a ballad, but far from a screamer. It’s the kind of thing that would have fit very well in this form on a 1970s Heart album.
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