Published on December 23rd, 2017 | by Justin G.
Valentine: Valentine (Rock Candy)
Valentine is the first album to feature vocalist extraordinaire and utter Steve Perry disciple Hugo. Very much a product of its time, Valentine’s style was like a (slightly) harder rocking version of Journey, and was similar to other AOR/melodic rock bands of that time like Giant and Bad English.
Valentine’s self-titled debut album featured 11 tracks of melodic rock with plenty of keyboards, guitar hooks, and of course Hugo’s soaring emotional vocals. It may be a bit ballad heavy for some tastes, but there are still quite a few rocking moments on the album. The whole album works really well, and if it had the backing of a proper label, it probably could have made Valentine minor radio/MTV stars, at least for another year or two.
Aside from a song on the soundtrack to the movie Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead, this CD is the only Valentine material available. Hugo & company would resurface later as Open Skyz, a less rocking, but still quite good AOR band that recorded a single album. Hugo would go on to launch a successful (for this type of music) solo career. His debut solo album contains songs that were intended for a second Valentine release, so it is worth checking out for that reason alone.
Reissue Notes: The Valentine debut was finally given the deluxe reissue treatment earlier this year by the Rock Candy label. They gave the album a really nice digital remastering and a booklet loaded with band interviews and vintage photos. It would be a perfect reissue except for one glaring omission. That one song – “Keep the Faith” – from the Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead soundtrack is missing. It would have been logical to add it as a bonus track. Same band, same era, same label and everything. It’s frustrating not to have it here, and prevents this from getting full marks. Still, if you missed Valentine the first time around, it’s great to see it available once more.
Summary: Almost a perfect reissue