Starship: Knee Deep in the Hoopla (1985)
- We Built This City
- Tomorrow Doesn’t Matter Tonight
- Rock Myself to Sleep
- Desperate Heart
- Private Room
- Before I Go
- Hearts of the World (Will Understand)
- Love Rusts
I was ten years old when this album came out and I knew nothing of the rocky past concerning the members of the band. Originally, Jefferson Airplane (1965-1972) and then Jefferson Starship (1974-1984). Some of the band tried to continue under the Jefferson Starship name, but after legal battles, Starship was born. This was another one of my first cassettes (not my proudest purchase, but I liked it then). It is never a good sign when one of the songs on the album is written by Michael Bolton (sorry Michael Bolton fans, but it’s true). The album is generic pop nonsense. There is no sign of the band’s earlier incarnations on this album. It’s like they scrapped everything that made them good and stuck to what they knew would sell in 1985. I’m not one to claim “sell-out” or “money-grab” on any band’s choices, but this is the one time I will. The end result includes what is usually listed as the worst song ever recorded — We Built This City.
Side one opens with the previously mentioned, We Built This City. It is pure pop nonsense. It really makes no sense and is annoyingly catchy — almost like a commercial jingle. I will admit this is the song that made me buy the tape. I liked it as a ten year old child, but it got old fast. I’m not really sure what they were going for on this song, but whatever it was, it failed. Sara follows. It was the other #1 hit on the record and has aged much better than the opening track. I liked this song then and still like it as a nice little ballad. Although, every girl named Sara I have ever met has loathed this song. The next song, Tomorrow Doesn’t Matter Tonight isn’t strictly a terrible song. It has a good melody and is catchy, but doesn’t really stand out either. Rock Myself to Sleep is a very lame attempt at a harder style of rock, but ends up just laughable. Side one closes with Desperate Heart, written by Michael Bolton. The record is in trouble when a Michael Bolton song is the second best song on side one…
Side two opens with, Private Room. The song is as generic as an eighties song as can be. It stands out in no way, whatsoever. I guess not being terrible is something in itself. The next song is, Before I Go. It is an odd little ballad that has a synthesizer line that I really like, but the rest of the song kind of falls flat. Hearts of the World (Will Understand) follows and continues with the mediocre songs, but this has a seriously misguided Grace Slick rap. Yes, Grace Slick attempts to rap. It also has one of the worst choruses I can think of. The album closes with Love Rusts, which is another surprisingly good ballad. It has a symphonic feel to it with Grace Slick vocally redeeming herself for her rap on the previously track.
The album cover may be the most “eighties” album cover ever. At least, what people think of when they think of eighties fashion. The neon colors, the shoulder pads, the crazy patterns, mismatched shoes and socks, and the neon (neon had to be mentioned twice). The band would return in 1987 with No Protection, a similarly styled record, but with much better song writing (not great by any means, but some decent songs).