With a genuine hit to his credit, Kenny Loggins
decided to stretch himself a bit on Keep the Fire
, hiring Tom Dowd
and toughening his sound slightly, adding a more flamboyant production in the process. He also decided to look like Doug Henning on the cover, which may be a surer sign that success had started to go to his head. All this resulted in a self-consciously tougher record than either of its predecessors, with a punchy sound, detailed production, and shades of boogie. Relying more on original material, this winds up being more uneven than Nightwatch
, but it boasts more character, even if that means something as silly as "Mr. Night." Also, the record, though clearly presented as a relative band effort, complete with a photo of the supporting band on the back cover, winds up not being as unified as its two predecessors, even if it's more "band-like." Still, any complaints are erased by "This Is It," one of two pop classics Loggins
recorded. Yes, the title track also became a hit, but the heart of this album is "This Is It," a mid-tempo charmer with lush, seductive verses, emphatic choruses, and great supporting vocals by Michael McDonald
. This summarizes everything that's right about soft rock, and is enough of a masterwork to make the flaws and filler forgivable, since it lends this pleasant soft rock affair a real spine.