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Articles Home » 1986 Articles » Survivor - 1986 When Seconds Count
Survivor - 1986 When Seconds Count

ARTIST: Survivor
ALBUM: When Seconds Count
LABEL: Scotti Bros
SERIAL: 72392 75236-2
YEAR: 1986
CD REISSUE: 1998, Volcano, 61422-32047-2 * 2011, Rock Candy Records, CANDY093


LINEUP: Jimi Jamison - vocals * Frankie Sullivan - guitars * Jim Peterik - keyboards * Stephan Ellis - bass * Marc Droubay - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 How Much Love * 02 Keep It Right Here * 03 Is This Love * 04 Man Against The World * 05 Rebel Son * 06 Oceans * 07 When Seconds Count * 08 Backstreet Love Affair * 09 In Good Faith * 10 Can't Let You Go


Survivor are a by-product of the late great eighties. With a spate of albums during that time, plus of course their defining moment 'Eye Of The Tiger', Survivor are to that decade what Ronaldinho is to Brazilian soccer.. inseparable. 1984's 'Vital Signs' was for me, probably their strongest album, with next to no filler, and a stream of great songs. It was also the first appearance for singer Jimi Jamison, adding his soulful styled voice on top of Chicago's finest, after having done stints with Memphis based outfits Target and Cobra. Two years later the band are back with near on a carbon-copy of 'Vital Signs'. I say carbon-copy but 'When Seconds Count' is probably one rung or two down from that prior album, but I have to admit, despite its flaws (the overly clever and pampering lyrics for one, Sullivan's thin-sounding guitar work being the other), I still find a lot of charm with this record, and it is certainly one you can play over and over.

The Songs
One of the surprises with the track line-up for this album, is the absence of their hit single 'Burning Heart', culled from the 'Rocky IV' soundtrack. Reaching No#5 in the UK, the song never made it onto any official Survivor studio album (Greatest Hits compilations nontwithstanding), and as it was released just prior to 'When Seconds Count', it seemed to be a likely candidate. In its place, 'Is This Love' carried the torch, and along with 'How Much Love' and 'Rebel Son', the band had more than enough choices to venture out into Radio-land with. For me though, the ballad pairing of 'Man Against The World' and 'In Good Faith' highlight Survivor's strength, writing exquisite songs with emotion and total melody. When the band go for broke, tracks like the aforementioned 'Rebel Heart' and my favourite 'Oceans' prove that Survivor can rock out with the best of them.

In Summary
The band continued their run of success with this album, with 'Is This Love' going to No#9 on the US Charts while the album went to No#2 on the Rock Album Charts. Still for me a good album, despite what I've written and it probably being slightly inferior to 'Vital Signs' and their 1989 effort ' Too Hot To Sleep'. Survivor have reformed for 2006's 'Reach' album, though Peterik and Ellis are no longer in the band. If like me, you are a fan of the band, then this album will already be safely stashed away in the collection.

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#1 | sabace on December 25 2007 13:05:47
my fave survivor lp and their heaviest!
#2 | sabace on August 03 2008 16:08:27
the previous comment was intended for TOO HOT TO SLEEP!and I love this record as well!
#3 | rostoned on August 03 2008 16:25:09
Great, highly ultra commercial radio oriented AOR, but I feel a step down from the magnificence of VS. The keyboard sound on this is FANTASTIC nonetheless.
#4 | jeffrey343 on January 06 2009 18:06:06
This is a candidate for my personal top-ten all-time albums. A little harder than "Vital Signs" but still very commercial for 1986. Ten great songs performed superbly. No wonder that Survivor is probably my favorite all-time band.
#5 | gerard on September 02 2014 23:09:54
One of my favorite AOR albums. Shocked to hear about Jimi Jamison's death...
#6 | super80boy on September 06 2015 18:26:50
The band seemed to have loaded up all the radio worthy/great tracks right out of the gate, as Side One is strikingly strong all the way through. 'Keep It Right Here' sounds like Mr. Steve Perry with all that emotion and passion, really great stuff and the ballad 'Man Against The World' cuts a melodic chord. Side Two is no slouch with the killer keyboard laden chorus in 'Backstreet Love Affair' and the grandiose 'Oceans'. Survivor get it done yet again…
#7 | melodiapositiva on January 26 2018 16:30:27
If Vital signs is a 10 ,this is a 9 indeed .However i was not convinced with Too hot to sleep ,too heavy for a band that brights in the melodic stuff.
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