Quasi-title track from Judas Priest's 1986 album, Turbo. It's a little light on the guitars, just chugging eighth note power chords the entire way through, pulled back in the mix. The drums have a lot of reverb and, all told, sound fake. The mix in general is extremely sparse, and if one didn't know better, one might assume the song to have been performed by Depeche Mode.

The lyrics are as follows:

You won't hear me, But you'll feel me
Without warning, somethings dawning, listen.
Then within your senses,
You'll know your defenseless.
How your heart beats, when you run for cover;
Your cant retreat I spy like no other.

Then we race together. We can ride forever
Wrapped in horsepower, driving into fury,
Changing gear I pull you tighter to me.

I'm your turbo lover. Tell me there's no other.
I'm your turbo lover. Better run for cover.

We hold each other closer, as we shift to overdrive,
And eveyrthing goes rushing by, with every nerve alive.
We move so fast it seems as though we've taken to the sky,
Love machines in harmony, we hear the engines cry.

On and on we're charging to the place so many seek
In perfect synchronicity of which so many speak
We feel so close to heaven in this roaring heavy load
and then in sheer abandonment, we shatter and explode.

I would urge the reader to note Rob Halford's use of gender neutral address in this song. It veils (if only lightly) his homosexuality, which now of course he readily admits. Many of Judas Priest's lyrics "decode" in such a fashion, very similar in many ways to Queen lyrics.

To hear the band tell it, turbo-everything was already all the rage in those days. Glenn Tipton and K.K. Downing had just bought new turbo Porsches, and I seem to recall reading an interview in which one member of the band impulse-bought a vacuum cleaner just because it was red and black and said "turbo" on it. I suppose that's the bigtime for you.

This release came at a transitional time for the Judas Priest. Their reputation and legacy as metal gods was already assured. For the album Turbo, they all got new, modern haircuts and motley leather outfits. Perhaps the record company did grab hold and try to milk them, as has been detractors' main criticism of this period for some time.

On the other hand, I was at a death metal CD release party a few weeks ago, a cook-out. There was a 25-disc changer set on shuffle, full of every kind of metal from Pantera to Helloween. The hosts had it positively blaring, so that everyone could hear it while they milled about in the back yard. However, when "Turbo Lover" came on, without saying a word, everyone calmly filed inside and hung around the stereo to listen. I asked a buddy of mine about it, "why this song? Why, of all songs, is this the one we all come inside for?"

"Dude, it's different; it's Turbo."

The song closes with a masterful guitar solo. I think my friend had the beginnings of a very good answer about this song. It has enormous sexual energy, and untold momentum from the guitars. It's artfully constructed from a production standpoint. However, the thing that makes it really unique is the restraint used throughout, in basically every facet of the song, from the forboding and closeted homosexuality, to the quiet mix and disciplined rhythm guitar work. It's clear they have the power to bowl anyone over; Judas Priest are obviously heavy metal in every song. This is the song that demonstrates the usefulness of restraint. The main, and somewhat dismal postscript to this achievement is that as yet no subsequent metal bands have replicated this approach or expanded on it. However, it does once again underline this song as a singularity in popular music.

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