Jupiters Darling features 16 sweet rocking tunes by the sisters of Heart. Led by siblings Ann and Nancy Wilson, Heart struck a crucial blow for feminisim in the male-dominated world of '70s rock. They could switch from powerful, Zeppelin-like grandeur … see full wiki
I totally missed it when Jupiters Darling was released in 2004. I discovered it browsing the web one night in 2005 when I was wondering if Heart had been doing anything lately. I immediately got myself a copy. I admit that I had a bit of trepidation, as I had no idea where their musical tastes had led them in the intervening years, and they have certainly dabbled in a variety of styles popular at the time they have recorded. (Which as most know, hasn't always been a good thing. Just say no to synthesizers!)
My trepidation was somewhat realized, in that there are a couple songs I don't care for too much, as they seem to be more in the style of post-grunge alternative rock, which only occasionally appeals to me. That's not to say they aren't good songs, other Heart fans with a different range of tastes may like them a great deal better. The thing about this album is that it contains 16 songs. If you don't like a few of them, so what? There's plenty left to choose from!
Nancy's songs aren't a strong point of the album. Nancy really does have a beautiful voice. But Ann's is more powerful and has an edginess that propels it into greatness. Plus, I'm such an unabashed Annie fan that any song she doesn't sing gives me a bit of a withdrawal twitch. When in the right mood, I enjoy "I'm Fine", though ironically enough it falls somewhat into the category I mentioned above. I do really like "I Need the Rain". It's my second favorite that Nancy has sung, after "Stranded" on the Brigade album.
Quite a few of the songs are sort of middle of the road for me. I really enjoy listening to them, but they aren't the ones that tend to play in my head as I'm going about my daily business. Among those are songs like "The Oldest Story in the World", "The Perfect Goodbye", "Enough", and "I Give Up".
Jupiters Darling does contain several songs that have become some of my Heart favorites. Most of them slowly grew on me over the course of several listenings until they finally stuck in my head just as much as "Crazy on You" or "Love Alive". I'm hard pressed to say what my absolute favorite is from the album. At first it was "Lost Angel". But depending on my mood it could also be "Make Me" or "No Other Love".
"No Other Love" is interesting because it's so incredibly simple as far as lyrics go, yet it really does give me that "I'm flying" feeling. The instrumental arrangement for the song is perfect, first a simple beat and guitar, then adding mandolin, and finally a cello I believe it is, fully fleshing it out into a thing of beauty. I consider "Make Me" to be classic Heart in sound and style. It starts off with Nancy displaying her mastery of the acoustic guitar, then breaks into a rock rhythm while blending acoustic and electric. Not my top favorite on the album, but I really really like it, "Fallen Ones" is very Zeppelinesque in style.
So to sum up, Jupiters Darling is a strong addition to Heart's incredible catalogue. If there's one overriding weakness to the album it's that it's not an internally consistent whole, due to the variety of music styles and number of tracks. This was an album that had to grow on me. I didn't immediately take to it, but I listen to parts of it it now as much as I do my older faves, which include Dreamboat Annie, Little Queen, and Heart. (Just to be complete, my newer favorites are Desire Walks On and The Road Home.) I consider Jupiters Darling to be a solid middle tier Heart album on my scale of most to least favorites, lumping it in somewhere near Brigade and Bebe le Strange. Ann continues to amaze and astound me. I don't think anyone listening to the album who didn't already know would ever guess she's in her 50's. Rock on!
p.s. I get the feeling that people who don't like this album at all are those who only liked the 80's Heart albums and do not appreciate the true breadth of musical talent that the Wilson sisters possess. The 80's are done and over with. It's time to move on, just like those of us who originally loved Dreamboat Annie have moved on.