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Survivor - 1988 Too Hot To Sleep

ARTIST: Survivor
ALBUM: Too Hot To Sleep
LABEL: Scotti Bros
SERIAL: FZ 44282
YEAR: 1988
CD REISSUE: 2011, Rock Candy Records, CANDY094


LINEUP: Jimi Jamison - vocals * Frankie Sullivan - guitars * Jim Peterik - keyboards

Additional Musicians: Bill Syniar - bass * Mickey Curry - drums * Peter Vitesse - keyboards

TRACK LISTING: 01 She's A Star * 02 Desperate Dreams * 03 Too Hot To Sleep * 04 Didn't Know It Was Love * 05 Rhythm Of The City * 06 Here Comes Desire * 07 Across The Miles * 08 Tell Me I'm The One * 09 Can't Give It Up * 10 Burning Bridges


With a change in fortunes, and a change within the music industry, previous stars which shone earlier in the decade were starting to fade. Many acts could be lumped in here, possibly also Survivor. After 1986's very good 'When Seconds Count', the album yielded one very successful song ('Is This Love' which went to #9 on the US Charts) though the album itself was less popular. With one more contracted album with Scotti Bros and the writing more or less on the wall, the band decided to go out with a bang, rather than a whimper. 'Too Hot To Sleep' was the result. Unfortunately for the previous rhythm section of Stephan Ellis and Marc Droubray, both departed during the lead-up to recording of the album. In came former Tantrum bassist Bill Syniar, plus seasoned session vets Mickey Curry and Peter-John Vitesse to fill the gaps. The album is a combination of harder hitting tracks coupled with their success recipe from previous albums - melody infused ballads showcasing the vocals of Jimi Jamison.

The Songs
A tasty little rocker is 'She's A Star', a mainly guitar based track devoid of all the rich trappings of keyboards and thick melodies.. these will come later. When the ballads appear, they are on a par with previous songs. 'Desperate Dreams' is one of the best tracks they've done in that softer style, while the duet ballad 'Across The Miles' is lush to the point of being non-recognisable as Survivor, save for the voice of Jamison. That track was also one of the singles from the album, along with another highlight 'Didn't Know It Was Love'. The title track 'Too Hot To Sleep' is a moody and despairing track, you can't help but toss-n-turn listening to this steamin' slice of AOR. 'Rhythm Of The City' didn't do a lot for me, it's followed by the early 80's AOR stomp of 'Here Comes Desire'. The regimented bass line locking this one into a late 70's timeframe. 'Tell Me I'm The One' is glorious AOR but one could be mistaken after hearing the very '5150' flavoured guitar intro a la Eddie Van Halen. More fist-pumping up-tempo rock comes courtesy of 'Can't Give It Up' - complete with pulsing bass lines, mega keys and some of the strongest guitar we've heard from Sullivan for awhile. The power-ballad 'Burning Bridges' finishes up the album. Another moody and atmospheric piece, this one features some smokin' guitar from Frankie.. who really does cut loose for once.

In Summary
Sadly the album only made it to #187 on the charts, but the purists would've been happy that the trio returned to the sound prior to the era of 1983's 'Caught In The Game' album. Due to the lack of success with 'Too Hot To Sleep' the band were put on hold indefinitely. It wasn't the end of the road for Survivor though. As we all know, the band continues to this day but the line-up changes reads like a daytime soap opera, plus the 90's legal disruptions was a complete sideshow in itself. Thankfully it was resolved, though the future still looks uncertain now that Jimi Jamison is no longer involved with the band, departing after 2006's disappointing 'Reach' album.

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#1 | sabace on December 25 2007 13:06:50
hugely under rated lp, great songs & playing
#2 | jeffrey343 on January 06 2009 18:00:26
This easily falls into my personal top-ten albums of all time. I got it in November 1988 right before graduating from college, so it has special meaning for me. I could tell by the CD cover that it looked 'heavier' than what they'd done the past two albums. I was not disappointed. There is not a single second on here that is not excellent. So good this is that the excellent 'Tell Me I'm The One' and 'Can't Give It Up' are often overlooked by me. I'll disagree with George and say that the crown jewel on here is 'Rhythm Of The City'; I used that to christen the stereo on the car I bought as soon as I got my first job.
#3 | jeffrey343 on December 09 2013 18:03:41
I got the Rock Candy version of this a while back, and it has a superior sound to my vintage first-release disk that I'd had since it came out. I've been playing this a lot the past few weeks as I celebrate 25 years since graduating from college / getting engaged / getting a new car. As I said almost five years ago, there are a lot of memories associated with this album. And I never get tired of it.
#4 | code4 on October 08 2015 19:44:10
Well you hit the nail on the head with this review as usual. As good as 'When seconds count' was (personally I felt the production, musicianship and bridge sections in songs seemed maybe better than ever) probably appeared to the general public like Survivor had been barking up the same tree too long with their formula brand of hard rock. Also i thought the singles (even if one was relatively successful and both pretty good) sounded a little like remake attempts of sorts of the singles from their previous album 'Vital Signs'.
Then you come to 'Too Hot To Sleep' and it sounds a little more like the likes of Van Halen or similar type of stuff that was taking the lead in the day. It's slightly more 80's glam rock tinged or something. The opener, despite it's crude lyrics (that surely offer more proof they were trying to borrow some of David Lee Roth's fanbase- not to insult his fanbase, i'm sure they are a varied crowd of people and most people here love Van Halen i would imagine). That song musically rocks. There is no doubt about it. 'Desperate Dreams' and the even more epic 'Didn't Know It was Love' (those keyboard chops over the chorus!) make up my other two favourites on this cd.

I guess the wimpy 'Accross The Miles' which showed their respects to AC radio (and ironically ended up being the biggest success from this album hitting number one on the AC charts) might just have got them a few thumbs down from such rock fans? and accusations of posturing with some of the rest of this material? as i suppose they were, while they were doing a bloody good job of it!

Frank Filipetti produced the album. If i recall correctly he handled the Foreigner album 'Inside Information' the year before and you can definitely make the connection between the two as there is a bit of a late 80's Foreigner vibe here as well.

In summary, it is nothing like most other Survivor albums. If anything it is closest to the very early releases like Survivor s/t? or at least as far as i can hear.

I've always felt that this one sounded as if it deserved a lot better when the grunge explosion was still a few years off.
#5 | super80boy on December 03 2017 01:54:31
The lead off ‘She’s A Star’ is a gripping rocker with a very catchy guitar riff – a fantastic start indeed. The single ‘Didn’t Know It Was Love’ has a solid uplifting chorus. Side Two’s hard hitting ‘Here Comes Desire’ definitely shows they went back to harder territory. Yet another consistent album in totality, drenched in high quality well composed melodic arrangements.
#6 | swingkingandy on December 24 2017 17:23:30
my favourite Survivor album with Rhythm of the City one of my favourite Survivor songs. Sulivan sounds like he's on a mission to release his beast!

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