Not totally unique, Secret Dreams & Forbidden Fire nevertheless depicts a cool portrait of 80's pomposity. Producer/director Jim Steinman always kicks his records off in style, and the breathtaking, go-for-baroque "Ravishing" is no exception. Building to "Livin' la Vida Loca," Desmond Child's songwriting ascent continues with "If You Were a Woman" which morphed into "You Give Love a Bad Name" for a certain Bon Jovi big shot. No cranium-blasting "Faster Than the Speed of Night" or chart-busting "Total Eclipse of the Heart" immediately makes Secret Dreams & Forbidden Fire sub-standard to the '83 Steinman/Tyler collaboration. This power-keg feels a bit sleeker and more streamlined: a fighter plane instead of a luxury jumbo. The ubiquitous Footloose soundtrack showcased colossal closer "Holding out for a Hero," so even that ditty doesn't prop this platter. Todd Rundgren (another member of this bizarre clique) joins his distinctively plain voice to Tyler's for a deranged duet on "Loving You's a Dirty Job But Somebody's Gotta Do It (not the Ratt killer)." "No Way to Treat a Lady" follows "Straight from the Heart" as an attempted Bryan Adams interpretation. Too much ado piled on top of the glittering "Band of Gold" almost breaks the back of a very sturdy song. Naturally the unsubtle Steinman production boasts an excess of everything, but somehow this secret dream needs a bit more fire. Not a bad pick-up from the delete bins though.
-STONE, Cheap Trash NYC