Red Tide #21
Isleys: The Heat Is On
[By Michael Letwin]
[THE HEAT IS ON, by the Isley Brothers, T Neck Records p233536.]
The Heat Is On is a dynamite album. This record by the Isley Brothers is good both for dancing and listening. The record is divided into two halves. The first side, with “Fight the Power,” “The Heat Is On,” and “Hope You Feel Better Love[,]” is for dancing. The other side, with “For the Love of You,” “Sensuality,” and “Make Me Say It Again Girl” is for listening.
The real hit of the record is of course “Fight the Power.” Probably the nicest thing about listening to this song on the record is not having to listen to the “beep” following the “bull” on the record. The fact that the radios refused to play the “shit” pissed me off to no end. I guess it’s cause the song is talking about how messed up life is in this country and those damn stations treated it like it was an obscenity to tell the truth!
That’s what “Fight the Power” is about. The feelings of frustration that we all have when we get fucked around with. For most of us, that’s a lot of the time! Or as the Isley’s themselves put it:
“I try to play my music, they say my music’s too loud. I tried talking about it, I got the big run around. And when I roll with the punches, I get knocked to the ground, by all this bullshit, going down.”
But the Isley’s aren’t just talking about how bad things are. They are saying that we should do more than cry – “Fight the Powers that be.”
The other thing about “Fight the Power” is that it’s the best sounding song on the record.
In my opinion, the other really nice songs on the album are two of the love songs, “Hope You Feel Better Love” and “For the Love of You.”
All in all, there [aren’t] many other records I’d rather have right now than “The Heat Is On.”
[Historical Note: The Red Tide was a revolutionary high school underground newspaper and youth organization that existed from 1971-1981. See: http://theredtide.wordpress.com/]