Saturday, March 26, 2016

"Fight Fire with Fire" by Kansas

Song#:  1592
Date:  09/03/1983
Debut:  87
Peak:  58
Weeks:  7
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  The band's CCM-leaning LP Vinyl Confessions got some attention thanks to the #17 hit "Play the Game Tonight." It was their first Top 20 hit since 1978. It was good news for the band, but they were still struggling internally. Original member Robby Steinhardt (violin/vocals) decided to call it quits and the band was having difficulty seeing eye-to-eye on the direction of the band. The remaining members rallied to make their next album Drastic Measures. For this effort, the band cut back on the CCM-oriented material, which left fans of that genre a bit disappointed. Rock radio initially responded well sending this first single to #3, but Pop basically ignored it and the song stalled outside the Top 50. The album was a commercial disappointment and by the end of the year, two more original members including main songwriter Kerry Livgren took off. After issuing a hits compilation, the rest of the band called it a day. However, a reformed version of the band would attempt a comeback later in the decade.

ReduxReview:  You're definitely not in Kansas anymore...  Anyone looking for the Kansas of the 70s won't find it here. They have basically turned into a heavily synth'd rock band and have pretty much lost their identity in the process. Artists do have to change and adapt over long careers, but there still has to be something in the mix that identifies the artist. There is nothing here like that. This could be any rock band. If this was a debut single from some new band, I might think it was a pretty good effort as I like the crunchy sound and production (although the tune is a bit average). But knowing it is Kansas makes it a disappointment. Although they changed up their sound previously with "Play the Game Tonight," at least it was a solid song. This one just takes them deeper into Oz and further away from Kansas.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  This was lead singer John Elefante's second album with Kansas. After the breakup, he went on to be a top producer mainly for CCM artists. His first major success was with the CCM rock band Petra. Elefante and his brother Dino produced the band's 1986 album Back to the Street. It would be the first of many successful projects between them. The album would be nominated for a Grammy for Best Gospel Performance.


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