Retro spin: Hurricane’s “I’m On To You”

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In October 1988, a band called Hurricane whirled onto Music Television. The band carried with them all the trappings of 1980’s heavy metal and hard rock, but with a slight variation on the typical rock themes that characterized so many bands of the era.

The band’s highest charting song is an impassioned romp called “I’m On To You.” For rock fans who have heard the band, Hurricane had all the right ingredients to be bigger in the way that bands are considered “big” when everyone has heard of them because of their ubiquity in mass media outlets. Critics have attributed Hurricane’s lack of greater recognition on the shift in musical trends. The band’s album “Over the Edge” contains the single “I’m On To You,” and it was followed by 1990’s, “Slave to the Thrill.” As the late 1980s turned into the 1990s, popular music trends were turning away from hard rock and heavy metal. Which was too bad, really. Hurricane embodied a masculine sensibility that made them stand out from many others. The song “I’m On To You” is memorable 30 years later because of its lyrics and sound.

About Hurricane

The band formed in 1985. In terms of style, the members demonstrated the long, layered hair with leather jackets look that was popular during the era. Their music was hard-driving without being overbearing, and in the case of “I’m On To You” the lyrics were memorable and invited listeners to sing along.
Hurricane was originally comprised of Kelly Hansen on vocals and rhythm guitar, Robert Sarzo on guitar, Tony Cavazo on bass and Jay Schellen on drums. It is worth noting that both Cavazo and Sarzo had older brothers in iconic metal band Quiet Riot.

The band’s catalog essentially consists of four studio albums. Their debut recording “Take What You Want” did not perform as well as “Over the Edge” eventually did. Part of what helped the band in between 1985 and 1988, was more than likely their role as opening acts to bands like Stryper and performers like Gary Moore.

By 1988, more people had heard of Hurricane. While the album “Over the Edge” barely cracked the top 100 (it reached No. 92), the album contained two singles that proved that Hurricane had the hard rock skill set to pull off songs that would resonate with audiences.

“On To You” by Hurricane

The lyrics detail a relationship with a person who is difficult to please. The song begins by revealing to the problematic significant other, “I’m on to you.” Each verse reveals a character flaw in this person. Essentially the lyrics are not too deep to understand. But the band doesn’t necessarily keep things simple. Interesting pairs of rhymes keep up the tension on a lyrical level. Lines like “I don’t wanna hear your lies/being victimized,” and “what I wanna know is/what you want with me/ you’ve got my attention/but not my sympathy” make the song’s sentiment realistic, and likely to be remembered by listeners.
The song’s soundscape is a heavy metal classic complete with in-your-face guitars. One sounds as if it is grinding machinery, while the other hits searing notes that make the lacerating solo logical. The bass and drums thud heavily together and drive the song forward. Hansen’s vocals are full-throated and deeper than a lot of singers in the era. He delivers the multi-syllabic words with ease. Everything works together nicely, which is why the story of Hurricane is kind of a mystery until a person considers the timing. “I’m On To You” peaked at No.33.
Hurricane is still around, but Hansen has taken over vocalist duties for Foreigner. Though the idea of a new Hurricane album is a nice one, no news of a pending album has been released yet.

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