This Week's R E V I E W ...

Small Change
© Renaissance

April 21 - 27, 2024

Year of Release: 1981
  • Don't Let Him Know
  • Turn On Your Radar
  • Hole In Paradise
  • Rain (Version 1)
  • When Will I See You Again
    (Version 1)
  • Heart And Soul (Version 1)
  • Stay (Version 1)
  • When Love Goes Wrong
  • In The Jailhouse Now
  • Wings Of Your Love
  • Cadillac Club
  • When Will I See You Again
    (Version 2)
  • Heart And Soul (Version 2)
  • Stay (Version 2)
  • Rain (Version 2)
  • N-N-N-No

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    This week, we travel to Canada, as the band Prism and their 1981 album, Small Change, is the Album Pick of the Week. From the album, "Don't Let Him Know" was a #1 hit on Billboard's Mainstream Rock (singles) chart (1982). I had never heard of this band, until I researched the Billboard Mainstream Rock charts.

    "Don't Let Him Know" leads off the album, as this song was written by a future Canadian rock star, Bryan Adams, and Jim Vallance. (Another song on this album was also written by Adams/Vallance - "Stay." The '80s Rock sound definitely describes this tune. "Turn On Your Radar" has a more Pop style, "Hole In Paradise" continues that '80s Rock, and one band comes to mind on this one - Jefferson Starship. "Rain (Version 1)" is more of a (power) ballad, soft (Pop) Rock. "When Will I See You Again (Version 1)" has the Pop style again, as Journey comes to mind on this one. More on the harder rock gets "Heart And Soul (Version 1)." Bryan Adams/Jim Vallance's "Stay" is the next track, and it's another (good) power ballad. '80s Rock has "When Love Goes Wrong", "In The Jailhouse Rock" is a remake of the Country classic, yet Prism puts a good ol' Rock and Roll '80s style to it. Another (great) ballad has "Wings Of Your Love."

    Renaissance's reissue of this album in 2008 includes bonus tracks: "Cadillac Club" is a powerful Rock instrumental. The next four tracks are "(Version 2)" of tracks from the original album: "When Will See You Again," "Heart And Soul," "Stay" and "Rain." All of them pretty much equals up to their (Version 1)'s. The last bonus track is "N-N-N-No," another powerful harder Rock '80s track. The '80s band Poison gets the comparison on this one.

    Prism's Small Change is definitely an '80s Rock album. The mix of Rock and ballads equals out to a superb album. Prism has released a total eight studio albums, yet their popularity was most likely well-known in Canada. I didn't remember hearing "Don't Let Him Know" when it was released, yet the songwriters would become much more popular in both Canada and the U.S. - Bryan Adams. Small Change will have fans of '80s Rock enjoying this album.

    An interesting "Critical Reception" from this album's Wikipedia article:
    Reviewing retrospectively for AllMusic, critic Mike DeGagne wrote of the album "Prism substitued its vigorous rock & roll sound for a more refined blend of soft rock amiability, which paid off to some extent." He added that "The vocals are toned down, the extravagance of the horns and synthesizers are absent and the songs reflect a more adult-oriented feel."
    It is also mentioned, that this album was generally regarded as the genesis of the smoother, more adult-oriented sound of the band's later work. Also, On release, the album was received favorably by the majority of music critics, although it was criticized for being too commercial. This was a departure from the band's early arena rock roots and opinions became much more negative in subsequent decades.

    Regardless, listening to Small Change decades later after it's release, proves that Prism's sound, like many bands that would become popular through the 1980s decade - Hard Rock, Hair Bands, Power Ballads - Prism is included favorably with all those who would make the 1980s decade popular. It's just that they were most likely more popular in Canada, and not here in the U.S.

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