High Adventure – Kenny Loggins (1982)

High Adventure album cover
High Adventure album cover

I have to admit that the music of Kenny Loggins has always been a kind of guilty pleasure for me. As a child I remember falling in love with soulful uplifting songs like “This Is It” and “Whenever I Call You Friend” featuring Stevie Nicks. As I got older, I became something of a music snob. Like many rebellious teens or rebel wanna-bees’, I swore off much of the established pop music that was saturating the airwaves. At the time I could not relate to much of what I hearing on the radio anyway, being the Pentecostal church boy that I was.  Good Christian or not, I still had a weak spot for a good melody- in or out of church (but mostly out).

Some habits were harder to break than others. Kenny Loggins was one such habit. He had maintained a steady stream of hits from the late 70s up to High Adventure in 1982. During that time I went from listening to AM radio oldies and gospel to funk then English new wave and  Southern college rock. In the process I nearly abandoned artist like Kenny Loggins. His music was once of the few refuges from what seemed like 24/7 church.  I was backsliding from sweet pop music.

Even in the clamor of new music from Thomas Dolby, Duran Duran and others, it would be difficult to forget or ignore High Adventure. With at least two hit singles and plenty of great non-single tracks, High Adventure was perhaps Kenny Loggins’ most popular album to date. With album art that cashed in on the Indiana Jones craze, High Adventure featured all the hallmark traits of a Loggins album: strong songwriting, catchy arrangements and his wonderful voice.

During the time of my pop embargo, I was not immune to the charms of songs like “Heart to Heart” with is soulful harmonizing chorus led by Micheal McDonald or the rousing “Dont fight It” featuring Steve Perry of Journey. I simply pretended that I did not like it, although it was difficult to do, even in a pre-internet world. It was everything a pop/rock album should be. Guitar work from Neil Giraldo rounded out the (soft) rock edge that gave the some songs a kind of store bought grit, but it would be David Fosters deft packaging that made High Adventure a textbook pop album of the 80s.

1982 was a tough year for anyone that had to compete with Thriller, but High Adventure still managed to settled in the top 40 albums of that year. This album came out just before every pop release had to have a saxophone solo somewhere in it, which makes it even more endearing to me. Loggins’ music after High Adventure would become less of a guilty pleasure as I totally lost interest by the time Vox Humana rolled out in 1985. It had seemed that I was finally healed from my Loggins pop affliction.

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