Though Heart’s previous album reissues have featured some unreleased material, Strange Euphoria is the first release to really dig into the band’s archives, with about half of the 51 tracks previously unreleased. In fact, the set makes it clear the entire box could’ve featured nothing but previously unreleased songs, and there will certainly be fans who wish Heart had gone in that direction.

The songs span over 40 years, beginning with Ann Wilson’s very first single, “Through Eyes and Glass,” credited to Ann Wilson and the Daybreaks and released in 1969 (unfortunately, the single’s B-side isn’t included on the set). Those who love the classic Heart of the period of the ‘70s are then treated to some real goodies: demos of “Magic Man,” “Crazy On You,” “Heartless,” and “Dog and Butterfly,” as well as storming live versions of “White Lightning and Wine” and (of course) “Barracuda.” The worst excesses of the power ballad era of the ‘80s/’90s are largely avoided; there’s no “All I Wanna Do Is Make Love To You,” while “Never” isn’t the album cut, but a previously unreleased live version featuring Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones. The third CD puts the spotlight on the Wilson sisters underrated alter ego band The Lovemongers, and also features the most live material (six live tracks on this disc alone). The set’s DVD is a terrific, if too short, live set from 1976, everyone attired in long flowing sleeves and kimonos, with cascading hair to match.

The set shows how Heart’s recent work has returned to the simpler sound of their early days, though Ann Wilson is now more likely to opt for power over delicacy in her vocal delivery. The set’s booklet features comments from Ann and Nancy on every track, with more in that vein to come; the two will publish their memoir, Kicking and Dreaming (co-written with Heavier Than Heaven author Charles R. Cross), this fall. And as the liner notes indicate, the Wilson sisters are determined to keep going, so Heart fans will have more to look forward to in the future.


Label: Sony Legacy (the CD and MP3 formats can be purchased here).