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Articles Home » 1983 Articles » Aldo Nova - 1983 Subject
Aldo Nova - 1983 Subject

ARTIST: Aldo Nova
ALBUM: Subject: Aldo Nova
LABEL: Portrait
SERIAL: FR 38721
YEAR: 1983
CD REISSUE: 1999, Portrait, RK 38721 * 2012, Rock Candy Records (UK), CANDY134


LINEUP: Aldo Nova - vocals, guitar, keyboards, producer * Kevin Carlson - guitar, backing vocals * Dennis Chartrand - piano * David Sikes, Neil Jason, Steve Buslowe - bass * Chuck Burgi - drums * Billy Carmassi - drums, tom tom, backing vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Subject's Theme * 02 Armageddon (Race Cars) * 03 Armageddon * 04 Monkey On Your Back * 05 Hey Operator * 06 Cry Baby Cry * 07 Victim Of A Broken Heart * 08 Africa (Primal Love) * 09 Hold Back The Night * 10 Always Be Mine * 11 All Night Long * 12 War Suite * 13 Prelude To Paradise * 14 Paradise

Is this the first thumbs up review for 'Subject'? It seems to have become accepted in AOR's history that it was a poor follow up to the classic debut. The main complaint is its concept approach, supposedly concerning dreams and imagination. There is also the alleged overuse of synthesizers and instrumentals. This unfair reasoning makes 'Subject' more than maligned. It's quite the classic in truth, maybe Nova's best work. Taken at face value its spotless AOR. This time around Nova employed a band after undertaking the first album almost single handedly.

The Songs
The concept is loose. Unless you know what it is, it's certainly not apparent. Better to ignore it and appreciate the songs individually. 'Monkey On Your Back' is an anti-drug warning, very heavy with an equal quota of stylized keyboard effects and hard backing riffs. Cry Baby Cry' is full on hard rock, with some of the wilder guitar work heard in the AOR pantheon (bad, bad word). The solo is brief, but a burst of fury. Melody is all over the place, Nova pushing the listener to levels of disbelief! 'Victim Of A Broken Heart' is a stunning ballad, one of the best these ears has heard. Strong atmosphere, getting it just right with the gut wrenching synths and guitar solo. 'Hold Back The Night' and 'Always Be Mine' score big on choruses with varying invasions of synthesizer that are borderline genius. 'All Night Long' should contain a manual for aspiring players wanting to understand interplay perfectly. The opening 30 seconds trade off riffs and keys to perfection. The instrumentals are quite similar, all keyboard dominated wizardry with ace guitar soloing.

In Summary
Subject' only hit 56 on Billboard and was discarded as a flop. Nova claimed CBS failed to promote it properly as rebuttal. The notion that this failed on musical terms is absurd and an insult to anyone who understands what good AOR should be. And that is sumptuous melody. On that note 'Subject' is faultless. It's time the history books were rewritten.

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#1 | aoraor on December 13 2006 14:52:07
Totally agree with you Alun, since it is more than 20 years I've been listening to this great AOR opus...Don't know why it was called as a flop, considering that there isn't a single weak track and the keyboards/guitars mix is wonderful along with songwriting..Better than the still fab 1st releaseSmile
#2 | sabace on April 03 2008 17:51:01
great lp but fails to reach heights of debut lp!
#3 | Jez on June 13 2008 04:33:09
Another all time class album. After the brilliant debut album came this one, which has Aldo smokin' all over it. A concept album of sorts, but don't let that put you off.Check out Armageddon Race Cars and tell me this boy can't play, plus a great cover of the Coney Hatch tune ' Hey Operator'. His best album imho and an essential part of any A.O.R collection
#4 | gdazegod on April 07 2012 13:55:51
YouTube Video:
#5 | Eric on August 02 2013 03:12:36
Nova's borderline prog moment. Innovative stuff and yes, his best.
#6 | Explorer on February 03 2016 09:29:25
His best by a long way, probably a little too `left field` at the time of release to make an impact.
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