Album Review: “Heart Like A Wheel” by Linda Ronstadt
Linda Ronstadt live - SirExxon / Youtube
The iconic singer’s 5th album, Heart Like A Wheel, just cemented her place in the music industry as one of the most flexible performers to ever exist. Her ability to turn other artists’ original into her own, “authentic” rendition has had a few of them running for their money. Clearly, Ronstadt’s genuineness had an effect on people, and a massive one at that, with Heart Like A Wheel proving this potency admirably.
“You’re No Good” starts the album strong with its rocking progression, taking DeeDee Warwick’s original recording to new heights with her vocal clarity, which was paired with her backing band’s unbounded jam energy. “It Doesn’t Matter Anymore” follows it up with a melancholic drive, which is further taken deeper by “Faithless Love” with an aching performance of J.D. Souther’s original. “The Dark End of The Street” has Ronstadt pacing herself with the emotional piece, while the title track closes the album’s first side with Ronstadt going a bit experimental from her usual sound.
“When Will I Be Loved” takes the Everly original to a pure, inquisitive format with Ronstadt’s oh-so immaculate emotions, while “Willin'” showcases her impeccable timing with the druggie-inspired tune, making it a bit easier to swallow for the average chap. “I Can’t Help It (If I’m Still Inlove with You)” joins the fray with what became one of Ronstadt’s greatest vocal triumphs as it garnered her a Grammy for The Best Country Vocal the following year. “Keep Me From Blowing Away” is a toned-down performance from the singer, showing that her pipes weren’t just for belting power, but could go toe-to-toe when it came to more mellow arrangements. Closing the album is “You Can Close Your Eyes”, originally owned by James Taylor but was given a fresh spin by Ronstadt’s dynamism on show.
Clearly, Linda Ronstadt outdid herself once again on Heart Like A Wheel, even furthering her career to new heights. With the help of a great team of musicians and musical minds behind her on this one, it was a no-brainer that the album would rise up to be one of the most successful catalogs of the vocal leviathan.