Today I am reviewing a band who, like Bon Jovi, epitomized the big hair bands of the eighties and early ninties. Picture 5000 14 to 17 year old boys pumping their fists in the air to the tunes coming from 50,000 watt amps. This band has probably had the most member turnover comparable to the fictional Spinal Tap and yet has had only one lead singer. In fact the singer, David Coverdale, founded the band. The band (I can’t believe I am reviewing) is Whitesnake. I know, the same glam metal ballad laced band prominant on the MTV airwaves in the late eighties. The band that spawned the love affair and eventual marriage of video babe Tawny Kitaen (who appeared in most of the Whitesnake videos) and Coverdale. Whitesnake has had many talented musicians involved in many of the various projects over the years. Here are some of the many names: Jon Lord, John Sykes, Steve Vai, Vivian Campbell, Cozy Powell, Adrian Vandenberg, Tommy Aldrige, Rudy Sarzo, and Anysley Dunbar. These names alone represent the many bands spun from Whitesnake.
I heard about the new album from Whitesnake while reviewing some new music on Amazon.com. I thought “No Way!” “Whitesnake is recording again?” Then again as I mentioned in my previous posting, hard rock and metal is making a comeback. So I guess Whitesnake is riding on this wave too. The new album is called “Good To Be Bad“. It was just recently released on April 22nd, 2008. (Note: The album is a double CD with new, unrecorded music on disk one and live previously recorded music on disk two. I will be focusing on disk one.) I have always been a fan of the more rockin’ Whitesnake songs like “Cryin’ In The Rain”, and “Still Of The Night” and not so much the ballad. This album has more fun, hard rockin’ cuts on it than any of the previous multiplatinum releases. The current Whitesnake lineup includes Coverdale, Doug Aldrich on guitar, Reb Beach of Winger fame on guitar, Uriah Duffy on bass, Chris Frazier on drums, and Timothy Drury on keyboards. The first track on “Good To Be Bad” is called “Best Years”. The song engages with a sonic riff that would send any real snakes into their holes. Then in comes the ever present and familiar David Coverdale vocals that scrowl (scream/growl):
Somebody help me
I’m feeling low
I’ve been down for so long
don’t know which way to go
drowning in sorrow
in deep misery
someone throw me a line
I’m clean out of time
Lord I’ve got to break free
Long live the guitar solo which is so present out of the gates in this first song. It is composed well and fits the tone of the song. Song number two is “Can You Hear The Wind Blow”. The lead in and prominent riff in this track is hot. I love the way the the last chord is held for an extra beat, then slid and held again. The song features a hint of slide guitar along with the virtuoso soloing of Reb Beach. The next track “Call On Me” incorporates some imaginative guitar work which I would expect from the likes of Aldrich and Beach. The bridge has some nice slide guitar that presedes the very cool escalating ionian scale solo. Now comes the first ballad on the album and it is called “All I Want All I Need”. It features Coverdale’s voice very well. The song, like most of them, is about finding love, keeping love, and professing love. It is very well done, but it is a ballad.
Album highlights include “Can You Hear The Wind Blow”, “Call On Me”, the title track “Good To Be Bad” starts with some cool distrorted wah guitar effects, and is sprinkled with some neat pinch harmonics reminiscent of John Sykes. Alright! Another cool guitar solo. “Summer Rain” is an acoustic exception with Whitesnake and very well done. It is a ballad but it features some very soothing and thought out lyrics:
I traveled each and every highway
With you in my heart
And all the gold and silver
Can’t keep us apart
You warm me like the morning sun
With you my life has just begun
Love comes over me
Falling like summer rain
Like summer rain
All your love for me
Feeling like summer rain
The song is my album fave right now. “Lay Down Your Love” is a well composed hard rock guitar song that reminds me of “Still Of The Night” with it’s blues influenced riffs. The mid-point of the song just totally rocks. “A Fool In Love” is reminiscent of old Whitesnake before their popularity. It is very steamy blues-oriented. The song even starts out with simulated pop and crackle like and an old vinyl record. The song is totally blues rock and a nice addition to the album. “Got What You Need” sounds like a combination of Whitesnake and older ACDC and works very well. The album ends with “till The End of Time” a nice acoustic blues oriented song that could have been placed on any early Led Zeppelin album.
I can’t believe I did it but I’m glad I did. The new Whitesnake album is a definite treat and a genuine nice surprise. The lyrics are secular but not laced with the sexual innuendo so prominent in the eighties metal bands. I will be listening to it on my mp3 player for some time to come. I give it four and a half stars out of five.
Check out the video for “Lay Down Your Love”.