Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Heart and these dreams of raining underpants

In Hear This, A.V. Club writers sing the praises of songs they know well. This week: songs sung by siblings.


Heart, “What About Love” (1985)

I spend a lot of time daydreaming about what it would be like if I could sing well. Lately, these daydreams have become more like detailed delusions. I blame things like Spike’s Lip Sync Battle, which I obsessively watch clips of, some of which are awful, while others almost bring me to tears. Still, both generally lead to me imagining a winning performance of my own, because the beauty of lip synching is that no one has to hear you squawk your way through something as vocally challenging as say, “What About Love?” by Heart.

Originally recorded by Toronto, Heart made a comeback with this single when it cracked the top 40 in 1985—the first Heart recording to do so in three years, and the band’s first top 10 hit in five. I like to think that my rendition would also be my comeback—from what, I’m unsure, but it makes for a better fantasy. Additionally, this performance would be dedicated to my two sisters, who would be sitting somewhere in the sold-out stadium—the only appropriate place for a lip sync battle of this prestige—because, when it comes down to it, Heart is about sisterhood. Over four decades, Heart has had three memorable lineups, but the core of the band has always been Ann and Nancy Wilson, sisters who grew up as army brats, counting music as the constant in their ever-changing lives.

It’s obvious why the Wilson sisters remained the backbone of Heart: They are fucking rock ’n’ roll, from the band’s harder ’70s output, to its transition to ’80s power ballads. Ann’s vocals kick ass, especially on “What About Love?” as she builds to the chorus, powerfully delivering the tough questions, “What about love? / Don’t you want someone to care about you?” Meanwhile, Nancy shreds on guitar, as evident in her solo toward the back half of the song. Though it’s nothing like her earlier work on songs such as “Crazy On You,” it will at least make my attempts to air guitar more believable.


And with that, I’ve got a performance of a lifetime, fueled by two musicians I can literally only dream of channelling when I close my eyes. But of course, Heart’s work, even when pantomimed by me, earns an encore, and you best believe I’m coming back strong with “Barracuda” as rose petals and the underpants of overeager fans rain down on stage. Delusional? Who me?


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