I have been filling in the holes in my Heart collection, replacing vinyl with CD's and adding albums I'd never previously acquired. Desire Walks On was in the latter category and I honestly wasn't expecting much because I've just never heard anyone say anything about the album and I had totally missed it when it was released. Wowie have I been pleasantly shocked!
The Road Home is solidly in first place as not only my favorite Heart album, but one of my all time favorite albums by anyone. For studio albums, Dreamboat Annie and Little Queen have always been tied for first place ever since their releases and I never thought that another Heart album would jeopardize their hallowed position. But Desire Walks On comes close. In fact, I think I will have to state that, while Dreamboat Annie still remains my sentimental favorite, Desire Walks On is, at least in my mind, Heart's best studio album they've ever made.
Desire Walks On is what I consider to be classic Heart. The songs are obviously chosen with care, melding well into a cohesive whole, and most of the material is at least partially written by Ann and Nancy. There is a very good mix of driving, hard rocking songs such as "Black on Black II" and "Rage", along with more melodic or ballad types such as "Back to Avalon", "Anything is Possible", and potentially my favorite on the album, "In Walks the Night". "Voodoo Doll" is a nice change-up with its wonderful beat and Annie's usual amazing vocals, along with some great backup vocals.
I'm not usually too keen on covers, but Annie's version of "The Woman In Me" is absolutely outstanding. (I already knew it would be, as I had seen her perform it with the Lovemongers in concert years ago and it was one of those highly memorable concert moments.) Just as outstanding is their version of "Ring Them Bells". My usual opinion is that adding a male vocalist is a Heart sacrilege, but Layne Staley is an excellent addition for this particular song and the three of them together just totally nail it.
There is only one thing I don't like about Desire Walks On and that's the very brief spoken intro track. It's easily skipped though and the rest of the album is pure Heart bliss.