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Picks and Pans Review: Get Nervous

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Pat Benatar

Her achievement—vaulting from obscurity to win two Grammy Awards, hitting No. 1 on the rock charts, and packing fans into stadiums across the country in the course of three years—might well give a girl from Long Island a case of the jitters. But this LP, Benatar’s fourth, shows the 30-year-old belter at her confident best. While there is tension in her voice on rockers like Shadows of the Night and Looking for a Stranger, it is a tension wrought of excitement rather than insecurity. Pat’s facile band helps keep its boss sounding fearless too. The lineup includes drummer Myron Grombacher, bassist Roger Capps, new keyboardist Charlie Giordano and guitarist Neil Geraldo. Geraldo, who became Benatar’s husband last February, also co-produced this LP and co-wrote half the tunes, showing melodic ability as well as his proven six-stringer strength. Pat’s hearty soprano never sounded as punchy as it does here. If she can still offend with some of the whines and rasps she affects, her essential power is undiminished. Having shown that she can match Bruce Springsteen as a rock ‘n’ roll stylist, though, it might be refreshing to hear Benatar slip out of her leathery repertoire into something more comfortable. How about a collection with a Motown slant? Something from Broadway? Tin Pan Alley? She’s snagged the glitter and the crowd. Now a little more risk would be becoming.