Picks and Pans Review: Wide Awake in Dreamland

updated 08/08/1988 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/08/1988 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Pat Benatar

Benatar can still do her Rolling Stonette, bombast rock, as All Fired Up on this album shows. She is also increasingly given to brooding, dark songs—many co-written by her husband, Neil Geraldo—that take the martial imagery she has previously applied to romance (Hit Me with Your Best Shot, Love Is a Battlefield) and use it to get at larger social concerns. Too Long a Soldier, for instance, is a war-weary plea from someone who has "seen so much worth dying for/So little worth killing over." Cool Zero, which decries hypocrisy and greed, says, "Art attacks from subway walls/ Sprayed like bullets into concrete face." Suffer the Little Children, which Benatar co-wrote with Geraldo, is a musical curse against child abuse, provoked by the real-life story of a 7-year-old California girl who was kidnapped and murdered in 1985. While Benatar's urgency commands attention, the sentiments she's expressing are all laid against such aggressive rock musical backgrounds that they sometimes get lost in the harsh physical sensation. Listening to the album straight through leaves a feeling akin to one that would come from eating food that has too much salt. (Chrysalis)

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