To most Americans, Corey Hart is a long-forgotten relic of a distant, silly past — sort of like the keytar, only with more hair product — and although this isn’t undeserved, it’s still worth noting that he had a number of hits here throughout the ’80s, and has continued to carve out a career for himself as a songwriter into the 21st century. I haven’t heard any of these songs — and given that some of them have been recorded by Celine Dion, I certainly can’t vouch for their quality — but still, Corey Hart is doing all right for himself; I can’t imagine we’ll see him standing alongside, say, Paul Young or the reconstituted T’Pau at an ’80s revival concert anytime soon.
Having said a few nice things about Corey Hart, I will now hasten to point out that his music was never very good and has aged terribly. In terms of sound and image, Hart combined the least interesting features of Eddie Money and Billy Idol. His vocals were impassioned, yet unintelligible; his arrangements bombastic, yet hollow; his melodies soaring, yet almost completely forgettable. In his songs and videos, he presented himself as an incoherently “soulful” doofus with great hair and a heart of gold (which is why I guess we can blame him for laying the groundwork for everything the Goo Goo Dolls have released since 1998).
Hart had two big hits about nothing (“Sunglasses at Night” and “Never Surrender”) in the ’80s, but by 1990, his audience had moved on, and most of the kids who might otherwise have been interested in Bang! were buying Nelson albums. (They had better hair.) Still, leadoff track “A Little Love” (download) inexplicably managed to squeak into the Top 40. Dear God, here’s the video:
As for the rest of the album, I have no recollection of what I thought or wrote about it in 1990; I’ve listened to it three or four times in the last few days, and I can’t tell you anything about it, although I do remember “Chase the Sun” (download) sounding like it could have been an AC hit, “Diamond Cowboy” (download) being unintentionally funny, and “Icon” (download) having a one-word title.
After Bang! flopped, Hart landed at Sire for an album before moving his career north of the border; his two most recent releases, 1996’s Corey Hart and 1998’s Jade, have been distributed by Sony’s Canadian branch. According to his website, Corey’s most recent project is something called “Sunglasses at Night 2002.” I’m not listening to it, ever, and Hart himself says “In my opinion nothing will ever replace the magical innocence of the original,” but if you’re interested, it looks like you can stream it at the site.