Wheels Are Turnin' blends clear, crisp ballads with high-energy pop
ock, which eventually gave REO Speedwagon four Top 40 singles, the same amount as Hi Infidelity credited them with four years earlier. Kevin Cronin's writing is rock-solid, a delightful turnaround from 1982's Good Trouble album. As one of the band's best ballads, "Can't Fight This Feeling" puts an elegant piano riff in front of Cronin's earnest voice, presenting REO with its second number one single, while "I Do' Wanna Know" is a turbulent ride of clean-cut guitar and up-and-down piano that comes off as well-crafted pop with a bite. Every track has the band sounding sharper and more alive, with even the less-extravagant material like "Break His Spell" and "Thru the Window" emanating merit. "One Lonely Night" throws the spotlight on Cronin's voice, proving that his expertise at carrying out the slow stuff hasn't dwindled, while "Live Every Moment" rounds out the last of the singles from the album, hitting number 34 in August of 1985, eight months after Wheels Are Turnin' achieved its number-seven mark on the U.S. charts. With production, songwriting, and tight instrumentation wisely dished out in equal portions, Wheels Are Turnin' was evidence that REO Speedwagon could still make some gratifying rock & roll.