Billy Squier – “Emotions In Motion” (1982)

Emotions In Motion doesn’t make me splooge in my cut-off jean shorts quite like Don’t Say No (Billy Squier’s 1981 album).  Nay, Emotions In Motion isn’t as good as that masterpiece.  But I still get a fair amount of mileage out of this high-quality Squier release.  Two cuts in particular get me going.  I’m talking about She’s A Runner (one of Billy’s finest moments, centered around a clever and economical little G-C-D riff), and the great ballad In Her Eyes.  More so than its predecessor, Emotions In Motions found Squier courting fashionable techno pop sounds of the day, making this record quite… (gulp)… “danceable”.  There’s some finger snapping, some quirky synthesizers, and lots of over-processed drums (with a snare that sounds like a f*cking pie tin!).  A couple of tracks kind of suffer unnecessarily from these new-wave tinkerings.  The biggest culprits, in my opinion, are Emotions In Motion, One Good Woman, and Everybody Wants You (the album’s biggest hit… so what do I know?).  In my view, by giving in to the trends of the day, Squier short-changed himself a bit.  He didn’t need to dress up his songs so much (or listen to bad advice?).  Billy had an excellent hard rock voice, and a proven ability to write great songs centered solely around his use of the electric guitar (see Lonely Is The Night from Don’t Say No for a classic example).  What I am saying is he should have relied on his pure rock sensibilities to carry out his songwriting ideas, not horns, techno-drums, or lame synthesizers.  But then again, Emotions In Motion wound up going double platinum, so I guess Billy knew what he was doing?  Maybe not.  Billy’s inability to trust in his own hard rock acumen did catch up with him in the end.  As we all know by now, his rock cred suffered immensely when the video for the single Rock Me Tonite (off his 1984 Signs Of Life LP) hit the screen.  (Check it out here if you are truly brave.)  It leaves me speechless.  Oh well, hindsight is 20/20.  I guess it’s true what they say; cocaine really is a helluva drug.  My score: B+

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