How Ratt’s ‘Invasion of Your Privacy’ Changed Everything for Soccer’s Alexi Lalas
In the summer of 1985, I was a teenaged kid growing up in the suburbs of Detroit and cruising Woodward Avenue with the windows down and the stereo up. I was a full-on Ratt devotee. Out of the Cellar had been released the year before, and the band's signature sound – a perfectly balanced combination of sleaze and glam – had quickly become part of my musical DNA.
In a time of Slurpees, Reagan, MTV, mullets, girls and sports, Ratt was the soundtrack to my Midwestern, suburban high-school existence.
So, it would be an understatement to say I was eagerly awaiting the arrival of Ratt's second record. When it was released, Invasion of Your Privacy was everything I wanted from my rock music and more. With producer Beau Hill’s sheen once again coating every track, it was a collection of songs that seemed made for me. Was it as accessible as Cellar? Probably not. But it was simple, raw, and in some ways it seemed less calculated.
There were obvious singles like “You’re In Love” and “Lay It Down,” and die-hard tracks like “Between the Eyes” and “You Should Know By Now.” “Closer To My Heart” was the closest thing Ratt had come to a ballad. And, yes, there was some filler. It didn't matter. I loved it all.
To this day I still think that Warren DeMartini’s opening riff of “Lay It Down” is one of the greatest in rock. Hyperbole? Maybe. But also true. The riff announces the song with a power and urgency that most songs can only dream of achieving.
Of course, 1985 came and went – but Ratt's Invasion of Your Privacy was always nearby. We often associate music with moments in our lives. For instance, I remember when I got my license in 1986, the first thing I did was slide in the Invasion cassette, turn it up, and drive down Woodward Avenue.
I remember repeatedly listening to “You’re In Love” on my Walkman as I lay awake in the bottom of my bunk bed wondering how they had created the lightning effect leading into the chorus. I remember spending hours at my friend’s house (who had cable television) waiting for the “Lay It Down” video to come on MTV. I remember being in my basement screaming the chorus of “You Should Know By Now” and wondering if I was ever going to be as cool as Stephen Pearcy.
In 1985, I was far away from the world that Ratt painted in their music, but they brought it to me. Thirty years later, it still does, though now it also takes me back to that time when a great riff and a car were all I needed to be happy. Still, to this day, when I hear the opening riff of “Lay It Down,” I immediately stop what I’m doing and prepare myself for the beautiful crush that’s coming.
I request "Lay It Down" whenever I'm asked about music to accompany me during a guest appearance on a show or at an event. I even have it as a ring tone. And every time I hear it, I’m back driving down Woodward Avenue.
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