REO Speedwagon, Hi Infidelity

A furious, freewheeling arena rock masterpiece, formulaic themes, by-the-numbers melodies and strictly perfunctory licks and solos notwithstanding, the performance is flawless, the execution is seamless and the result is peerless. While "Follow My Heart" falls relatively flatter than the rest, "Tough Guys" is just plain fun, "In Your Letter" and "Shakin' It Loose" mix in a little doo-wop for stylistic variety, and "Don't Let Him Go" and "Take It On The Run"'s gentle touch on human imperfections may be hackneyed but still comes across as mature and thoughtful. And despite the title, the wistful closer "I Wish You Were There" still makes us long for that forever relationship just out of reach. I've never wanted to skip a track and I've never wanted to miss a moment. Sure, call the production cynically commercial pablum, but since when was giving the customer what they want a sin? (Content: S-bomb on "Tough Guys," mild adult themes on "Someone Tonight.")