Single Review: Heart “What About Love”

What About Love
Album: Heart
Year: 1985

Ann Wilson struggles to reach her withdrawn boyfriend in the red-blooded “What About Love.”

Thundering drums and dramatic keyboards introduce the single, creating an embattled and tense tone. The tone is heightened with synthesizers and some percussion which maintain the strained atmosphere. Since dating him she’s spent more time alone than with him. She’s been holding on in vain, thinking he will eventually open up to her. In conversation with her friends, she tells them everything is great with him. But she’s lying. He’s cold towards her and isn’t affectionate or communicative at all.

The drums and guitars flare up, matching the intensity in Wilson’s voice. She resents that he’s repressed any positive emotions he might feel to a science as she gives him a backhanded compliment. (“I’ve been lonely/I’ve been waiting for you/I’m pretending and that’s all I can do/The love I’m sending/Ain’t making it through to your heart/You’ve been hiding, never letting it show/Always trying to keep it under control/You got it down and you’re well/On the way to the top/But there’s something that you forgot”).

In the chorus, She says eventually he will need someone to turn to. She warns him to not treat her love casually. She’s only trying to be supportive. (“What about love/Don’t you want someone to care about you/What about love/Don’t let it slip away/What about love/I only want to share it with you/You might need it someday.”)

He shut himself down, making himself hard to read. She has no idea what’s going on inside his head. She can’t force him to open up and tell her what’s bothering him. She points out that he’s going to have reassess and look inside to find out why he doesn’t want love. Something is deeply wrong with him and he needs to tackle the issue now. Otherwise, he will have no one in his life who will be there to help him. (“I can’t tell you what you’re feeling inside/ I can’t sell you what you don’t want to buy/ Something’s missing and you got to/ Look back on your life/You know something here just ain’t right.”)

After the chorus, the guitar has a splendid solo.

Wilson sings the chorus again. As the drums wallop the notes, Wilson showcases her crisp, bold vocals as she adlibs, “No, no, no…yeah…whoo-hooo….love, love, what about love…whoo-hoooo…yeah…love.”)

“What About Love” balances between pleading and assertive. In the single, Wilson has composure, hiding her own hopelessness and disillusionment.

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