Review: Stan Bush – Dare To Dream
Cargo Records (November 20th 2020)
Reviewer: Peter Scallan
Stan Bush is no stranger to me as I loved some of his 80s output, back when my hair was blond and well-coiffured and my waist was six inches smaller! I was fortunate enough to see him at Firefest a few years back and had the pleasure of meeting him also – a real gentleman. While he may not quite have had the raucous voice of yesteryear, the man could still seriously carry a tune and boy did he have a few. The first album I have heard since those halcyon 80s days.
‘Born To Fight‘ opens the album with a grand entrance and a galloping guitar riff. And when we get to the chorus, you know that Stan the Man hasn’t lost his touch in terms of writing a tune or two! Its classic 80s AOR and that theme continues with ‘Dare To Dream‘. This song would sit nicely on any classic Rock Springfield album for me and rocks along at a nice pace and then then killer chorus arrives. ‘The Times of Your Life‘ has a Bryan Adams style intro and then builds into something a little more upbeat with lush backing vocals. It has great light and shade and variety of pace. We then have a classic 80s rock ballad called ‘A Dream Of Love‘. Simple bass and drum pattern provide the backdrop for delightful clean guitars and slightly ethereal keyboards. This builds into a hug staccato bridge with the obligatory big vocal chorus following. The aptly titled ‘The 80s‘ follows with an intro of keys and vocals which again flows into a huge chorus. The guitar riff and vocals have an intentional Def Leppard 80s feel, with the chorus ending on the lyrics ‘when I hear that 80s song’.
‘Live and Breathe‘ is the half-way point in this 11 song set. It opens gently with piano and vocals, and gently builds to the chorus and is a great example of a rock ballad. The pace is picked up somewhat with another galloping baseline line with ‘Heat Of Attack‘. While it has all the elements the other songs have, there is just something missing for this song for me and is probably the weakest track on the album. When are then straight back into serious power pop melodic rock with ‘Dream Big‘ which sounds like it could be the lead track on a film soundtrack and normal service is resumed! ‘True Believer‘ follows and is a delightful ballad built around a melodic staccato bass line and then picks of the pace bridge and then a classic ‘dut-dut’ keyboard chorus riff. Got all the classic features of a huge 80s chart AOR hit. The next song opens with big vocals proclaiming ‘Never Give Up‘, the songs title. This song has a few touchpoints with Stan’s huge hit from the Transformers movie, namely ‘The Touch‘. Let’s face it, if you are going to rip off classic 80s AOR, you might as well draw on your own great song book. The last song is called ‘Home‘ and finishes with the album with a great 80s style rock ballad with a great combination of acoustic and clean electric guitars.
What can I say about this album then? Is it hugely innovative and original? Well, no! Is it bringing anything new to the table that we didn’t already know about Stan Bush? Well, no again! Why should we buy it then, do I hear you say? Well, if like me you grew up on 70s and 80s rock, and really got into 80s style melodic rock or AOR or whatever you want to call it – this will take you back to that time when the song ruled supreme. This album is full of superb songs and it’s great to hear somebody actually do this genre justice instead of the plethora of pretenders we have got in the last decade or so that basically all sound much the same. Mr Stan Bush – take a bow as this is proper AOR in my book!