I can remember it so clearly. May 1989…I was in 10th Grade, miserable at all-boys school Chaminade. It was almost the end of the school year and I was desperately craving something new to listen to. My friend Tony comes haul-assin’ into school on a Thursday morning waving a tape around that I just HAD to hear! That tape was the fourth album by Norwegian rockers TNT, Intuition. At that point all I knew was one song that I was NOT a fan of, but Tony and I had very similar tastes, especially when it came to the more melodic rock and metal.
At Chaminade, since we all lived in different places, there was an unwritten rule that if someone loaned you a tape, you took it home, dubbed (yep, I said dubbed!) a copy for yourself, and put it back in your schoolbag so it got returned promptly. Well after jamming this thing the entire 40-minute bus ride home, then in the parking lot at King Kullen while I was rounding up shopping carts, then all night long, I almost forgot in my excitement! I think I remembered and copied it sometime around 2 a.m. I loved and still love this friggin’ album!
After an intro “A Nation Free”, Ronni Le Tekrø’s guitar sliced through my headphones like nobody’s business on “Caught Between the Tigers” and then Tony Harnell comes in with that…that voice! Back then as far as I was concerned, the higher the voice the better, and Harnell impressed the shit out of me immediately. I also learned that this album was much more slickly produced and polished than previous works with layer upon layer of vocal harmonies and keyboards. Fine by me!! The guitars were still high up in the mix in what I feel is a perfectly produced record.
“Tonight I’m Falling” is another one of those songs that just pops into my head at the most random times all these years later, and when it does I have to go to iTunes and listen to the whole album (at only 37 minutes, that’s fairly easy). Things were just so much simpler then and I love that this takes me back the way it does. The band changes the pace for a bit with ballad “End of the Line”, and for this one alone, Harnell should be placed high up in the discussions of great vocalists of our time. Side one closer and title track “Intuition” is the sugary sweet epitome of melodic pop metal, and you WILL have a toothache when it’s over; still my favorite to this day. So uplifting and catchy.
But TNT take the time to remind us with “Forever Shine On” that they are in fact a metal band, no matter how polished the sound might be, because Le Tekrø makes damn sure that we know it with this one. The guy can flat-out shred! Things get a little more AOR-flavored for “Learn to Love” but that’s OK; you won’t hear me bitching. A brief (53 seconds) and strange interlude “Ordinary Lover” is next with Le Tekrø on vocals. It is a head-scratcher at first listen, but after all this time I still take great joy in busting out my own rendition, then waiting for whoever I’m with to give me the inevitable, “What the fuck was that?!?” Hahahahaaa!!
“Take Me Down (Fallen Angel)” was and is my other favorite, and one of the best things about it is the way the synth enhances the guitar on the choruses with a crazy sound I hadn’t heard before. And it sounded so cool in my headphones at night. That’s where this album got the majority of its spins that summer. Final track “Wisdom” is another ballad but it is anything but typical. The arrangements are actually rather unique and the solo is waaaay out there.
Bottom line: whenever I want to sit and listen to an album that pretty much makes me smile from start to finish, TNT’s Intuition is my go-to. Plus, all the memories it has attached to it: starting the King Kullen job, knowing I only had a month left in that hellhole of a school, and just getting ready to kick off the Summer of ’89. For these reasons and more, this will always be a Classic Album. ~dc