In the Heat of the Night
Pat Benatar had sung cabaret and many other styles before finding her voice as a hard pop-rocker. Her voice was a force of nature, and her band (led by guitarist and future husband Neil Giraldo) understood the balance between pop and rock and how to get the most out of each. "Heartbreaker"—a tune penned in part by Carole Bayer Sager—was a career-changer, a fierce bite of sexual power that established Benatar as a star. She gave a similarly forceful read to John Cougar Mellencamp's "I Need a Lover." "We Live for Love" capitalized on new wave with bright guitars, oversized robotic beats, and sweet synthesizers that moved Benatar closer to Blondie. (The album was produced by Mike Chapman, who also produced Blondie's breakthrough LP Parallel Lines.) "Rated X" pulses with new wave guitars and a further pop sense, while "So Sincere" teases with a playfulness that was often overlooked as Benatar dominated FM rock radio with a tougher sound.