Channel all your anger into a four minute and twenty-one second rock anthem and you’ll know exactly how Barracuda sounds. With a galloping guitar rift, entrancing harmonics and Ann Wilson’s taut voice, the signature track from Heart’s Little Queen album is a staple of their career.
Surprisingly enough, the song was written in one day, rehearsed in one day, and recorded in a day. Yet it gives you the impression of being carefully crafted rather than unrefined and rash. Barracuda was born after Mushroom Records’ attempted publicity stunt concerning a made-up incestuous love affair between the Wilson sisters; with a tasteless joke asking where her lover was (in reference to her sister) Ann retreated to her hotel room and wrote the lyrics. Their producer, Mike Flicker, notes too that Barracuda comes conceptionally from ‘all of this record business bullshit; the barracuda could be anyone from the promotion man to the president of a record company; it was born from the entire experience’.
The first time I heard Barracuda was on a classic rock station in the car. I remember bobbing my head along in the passenger seat, adoring the fact that I could hear a lady expressing her discontent amid the sea of male voices I had grown accustomed to hearing. Guitar Hero 3 was released shortly after that first listening, and to my grateful discovery, the song had been part of the track list (rightfully so with a name like Legends of Rock) and I could play it over and over again in the name of video games—and while home alone, I could live out the pipe dream of being a lady rockstar alongside the Wilson sisters, and even now it’s them I have to give partial thanks to, on those days when I am one.