For a 35-year-old, the news last week of plans to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Nirvana’s landmark “Nevermind” album with an elaborate reissue came with a fresh, palpable wave of feeling ... old.
Those waves are crashing ashore with alarming and increasing frequency these days.
And they won’t stop. Just ask any 45(ish)-year-old how they feel knowing that the power-balladeers in REO Speedwagon just released a “30th Anniversary Edition” of their most popular album, 1981’s “Hi Infidelity.”
Cheesy videos and regrettable fashion choices made in the 1980s have made REO Speedwagon the fodder of jokes for years. But revisionist history doesn’t change the fact that the band — formed by Illinois college students in 1967 — has sold more than 10 million copies of “Hi Infidelity,” making it the best-selling album of 1981.
In other words, someone liked it. And for a generation of folks, the album’s highest-charting hits, “Keep on Loving You” and “Take it on the Run,” perfectly capture the sound of the era through gently strummed acoustic guitars, dramatic crescendos and Kevin Cronin’s clear, nasally voice.
No matter what you think of REO Speedwagon today, there is no denying the band’s greatest strength: delivering tunes that are packed with hooks so massive and so memorable, you can sing every note, every word, even 30 years later.
You’ll sing along tonight when REO Speedwagon plays the Deschutes County Fair (see “If you go”). You know you will.
— Ben Salmon, The Bulletin