Classic Rock Bottom

There's a few CDs I have that I haven't or hadn't gotten around to listening to yet. Whether they are too "old" or I end up not really having much to say about them, I'm not doing a full on review.

Instead, I'm just putting in a sentence or two about what I thought of them. I'll probably keep updating this thread as I get around to various albums that have been sitting waiting for me to play them.

Joe Bonamassa - Blues of Desperation - While there were a couple of tracks I wasn't all that enamored with, overall this album was another winning blues solo album from Bonamassa.

Boneyard Dog - Bluesbound Train - Another bluesy rock and roll record, this debut album was pretty much kicking my ass each time I listened to it.

U2 - The Joshua Tree 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition - Sadly, while I absolutely love the album itself (it is one of my all-time favorites), the anniversary edition isn't much to write home about. Disc 1 is the original album while Disc 2 is a live concert from the Joshua Tree tour. It's not bad, but there's nothing special about it really.

Inglorious - S/T - I was really kind of hyped up about this album but I think the fact I've already sold it off on eBay might give you a hint about my final reaction to the album. Okay, that might be slightly unfair but after listening to the album four times and I couldn't really pick a single memorable song out of it, there's obviously something of a disconnect.

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Ozzy Osbourne - Scream (2010)

I've gotta be honest here. I don't recall ever hearing anything about this album. I don't recall any press hype (which is weird since this came out just 8 years ago) or have any recollection of hearing any of the music from the album either.

When I picked up this album, I had read online that it wasn't exactly well received. This left me worried I was going to hate the album too. And when the opening track "Let It Die" blared through the speakers, it made me think that belief was right.

The song started off good musically, but the vocals during the main lyrical verses are atrocious. Yes, the song is heavy and moves with a brisk pace, but the crap vocals overshadow everything.

Meanwhile, the brief little interlude track that actually closes the album, "I Love You All", plays out like such a cheap afterthought, it should've been left on the album.

But in between the beginning and ending, Scream isn't half bad.

When Ozzy is rocking out on tracks like "Let Me Hear You Scream", "Diggin' Me Down" or "Fearless" he's relentlessly entertaining. Gus G., Blasko and Tommy Clufetos provide a strong musical foundation with some incredible riffs from Gus G. in particular.

"Soul Sucker" is more of a methodical plodder, but gets faster about 3 minutes into the cut while the ballad-to-rocker "Life Won't Wait" has a great sound to it and is aided by a great set of lyrics.

I definitely missed out on a lot of good stuff by not realizing this album was out but now that I have it, I found it rather enjoyable overall.

I added a few new CDs to my collection last weekend with visits to a couple of flea markets. I've listened to 7 of them so far. Three of them were country CDs so I'm not going to review them here.

The other four were rock so here's my thoughts.

AC/DC - Live (1992) - Well...the album is definitely filled with live recordings. Look, I like AC/DC. They have a lot of great songs to be sure. And while this live album's track listing is filled with those songs, I just wasn't feeling this album. It kind of faded into the background for me as I was doing other things while listening. Yes, it's live. But it doesn't really do much to stand out otherwise.

AC/DC - Stiff Upper Lip (2000) - I suppose I'm going to have to check this one out again because other than the title track and the somewhat nonsensical "Safe In New York City", I can't really think of another song that really cried out to me as a keeper.

U2 - War (1983) - This is U2 still in its slightly less than polished but profile rising stage. And this is a really good album. The Joshua Tree album will always be my favorite release from the band, but when you have songs like "Sunday Bloody Sunday", "New Year's Day" and "40" on an album, it can't be considered anything less than a winner!

Guns N' Roses - Appetite for Destruction (1987) - One of the era's defining albums. Everything to do with this album is a standout. This always strikes me funny because the first time I heard "Welcome To The Jungle", I didn't like it. I know you must be thinking "that's blasphemy" right? But it's true. So I kind of ignored the band. Then "Sweet Child O'Mine" came out and I liked it and did a reevaluation of the album and band. Second time around made me a huge fan of the album. I still have the T-shirt with the original album cover tucked away in a drawer. And I got to see them open for Aerosmith. There's 12 songs and each of them just kicks your ass so unexpectedly. I really can't decide what my favorite song of the bunch is at all.

That ACDC Live came in a single CD edition and then a double disc edition.  There is now a Collectors Edition of which I am the owner of.  Not sure of the track listing on your version , but there is some really cool jams on the updated one...  Jailbreak, Let There Be Rock, High Voltage are done in a very fun way and it's a much better listen.  

I have the single disc edition.

I thought Stiff Upper Lip was decent.  I really like Safe In New York City.

War is a very good album.  Agree with your thoughts there.

To me, Welcome To The Jungle is the least interesting song on the album, although I do think it was a strong opening track.

Well, I am going to have to listen to SUL again like I said. It just didn't really resonate with me the first time around.

Nice that we agree about the U2 album.

Not sure if it is the least interesting track but it didn't grab me the first time around so you might be onto something there.

Europe - The Final Countdown (1986) - It's been a while since I'd listened to The Final Countdown. While I loved the album back in the day, I only had a dubbed cassette of the release and I have no idea where that went to. But I found a CD edition of the album at a recent flea market excursion and immediately grabbed it up.

I've been listening to the album for the last three days and I have to say that despite the crap the band takes from critics, I still love this album. From the monstrously successful title track to the perfect 80's anthem "Rock The Night" and the requisite power ballad "Carrie, I really think this album is fantastic. 

I once read a review of a concert where Europe opened for Bon Jovi. The reviewer said they were a second rate Bon Jovi which really made them a fourth rate band. Personally, I think that is a terrible recap of the band's 1980's time period.

They have changed their sound to a more classic rock vibe these days but for the 1980's, this was a really great album. And for me at least, it really holds up. Other tracks that stood out for me were "Ninja" and "Cherokee", but it truth I really liked all 10 songs on the album and as I write this brief little piece, I'm listening to the album all over again.

I owned this on cassette as well.  I've always considered it a Pyromania knock-off.  But like you listened to it a ton back in the day.  I've never re-purchased this on CD so it seems to be an album lost in time for me (except for the title track of course). Maybe thats a mistake...

I guess it all depends on how you feel about going back to the music of the era. I love the stuff so it works for me.

Van Halen - Balance (1995)

If you take away three time wasting instrumentals and the closing song "Feelin'" (which was just a mediocre track), Van Halen's 10th studio album would have been an 8 song masterpiece of an album.

You've got three single worthy songs in "Amsterdam", "Don't Tell Me (What Love Can Do)" and "Can't Stop Loving You" and each of those songs are excellent. But the opening track "The Seventh Seal" is a dark and heavy song that really stuck with me a lot. I loved the way Sammy Hagar's vocals came out on the main verses of that song. 

Hagar was also noteworthy for the rapid fire vocal delivery of "Big Fat Money".  I really loved "Not Enough" but I think it should be pointed out that if you are in the midst of a breakup with someone, it is not a song you want to listen to. Oh, and "Take Me Back (Deja Vu)" is a GREAT Van Halen song, period.

While I would skip the instrumentals, Balance is an otherwise fantastic album from the band and after 23 years of not owning it, I'm glad that it is now in my collection.

Of all the Van Hagar studio records, the bookends continue to be the most interesting.  I like this one as well, and you're spot on with the 8 tracks comment.

I just picked up 3 more VH albums at a flea market today. So it will be interesting to see what I think of those ones as well. 

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