“It’s Not Love” by Dokken
(Words/Music: Don Dokken, Album: Under Lock and Key, Elektra 1985)
When I decided I was going to write about Dokken, I thought I would write about something off of Tooth and Nail, more than likely “Into the Fire.” But upon re-examining my options, I remembered about “It’s Not Love” from their most successful album Under Lock and Key. Initially I wanted to write about “Into the Fire” because it was their biggest hit before they became well-known, but now I listen to it and the whole album seems clunky in comparison to “It’s Not Love”. While not as gritty as their first two albums, and while they do begin to go a bit too “pop” for my tastes (“In My Dreams”), “It’s Not Love” is the highlight of the Under Lock and Key album, if not of Dokken’s career. It’s catchy enough to sing along to, rocks enough to get excited about, and there are just enough guitar licks and theatrics to provide musical integrity. The only aspect of the song which seems a bit out of place (if not downright regretful) is the phone call at the end of the guitar solo, which they mercifully cut out of the video.
Is it the perfect metal video? It starts with a hot truck driver chick who we find out is driving a flat-bed (which is actually a moving stage) through Los Angeles. (And conceptually, it always reminds me of U2’s “Where the Streets Have No Name” which it predates by a year or so). Throw in some cameos, the first video appearance of George Lynch’s famous Skull and Bones guitar, and the fact that they were wearing regular jeans and t-shirts instead of the glam metal suits from their album cover, and it’s pretty much a fantasy metal video. It’s basically a metal version of Randy Newman’s “I Love L.A.” and there’s nothing wrong with that. And while Dokken may have imploded in the following years and become poster boys for glam-metal-gone-wrong, this song and video encapsulate the essence of what was a solid 80s metal band.