Blog Archives

Def Leppard – X

Def Leppard – X (2002, Island Records)

1. “Now” … 3:58
2. “Unbelievable” … 3:58
3. “You’re So Beautiful” … 3:31
4. “Everyday” … 3:08
5. “Long Long Way To Go” … 4:38
6. “Four Letter Word” … 3:07
7. “Torn to Shreds” … 2:56
8. “Love Don’t Lie” … 4:46
9. “Gravity” … 2:33
10. “Cry” … 3:17
11. “Girl Like You” … 2:49
12. “Let Me Be the One” … 3:29
13. “Scar” … 4:59

Band:
Joe Elliott – lead vocals
Rick “Sav” Savage – bass guitar, vocals
Rick Allen – drums
Vivian Campbell – guitar, vocals
Phil Collen – guitar, vocals

Producer: Pete Woodroffe & Def Leppard

It’s been a long time coming but I finally sat down and gave this album another spin. I bought it as soon as it came out and probably gave it 4 or 5 spins before deciding it was a disappointing follow-up to Euphoria. 9 years later, I’m listening to it again. I would’ve actually checked it out (again) a few years earlier but I lost my copy and finally snagged another copy a year or two ago.

Euphoria was no slouch of an album. It’s their most recent album to go gold, “Promises” was a minor radio hit, the album was hailed as a return to form by fans & critics alike after the alternative leanings of Slang and the band was all over VH1 at the time enjoying the renewed popularity that many “eighties bands” were experiencing.

So why, then, did the band go in yet another direction by turning in their poppiest, softest-rocking album to date? Well, I guess the lure of the almighty dollar was just too much. Sure, they sold 500,000 copies of the last album but what about going double platinum like Bon Jovi did?

Obviously inspired by the success of Bon Jovi’s Crush and “It’s My Life”, Def Leppard recruited some of the very same songwriters that the boys from Jersey had partnered with on that 2000 release. Names like Max Martin, Andreas Carlsson and Wayne Hector were all over the place in the late ’90s/early ’00s as they wrote hits for a number of boy bands like Backstreet Boys and pop tarts like Britney Spears. The band was obviously content to just let the “hits” come to them as not a single member had a hand in writing “Unbelievable” or “Long Long Way to Go”!

It blew my mind at the time that Def Leppard was able to recover from the cold response for Slang by handing in Euphoria (one of their best albums, IMO) and then do another turnaround with X. I actually lost a bit of respect for the band at the time because it was such an obvious cash grab and phony attempt at staying relevant.

Nine years on, my judgment isn’t as clouded and I can look back and say there are a number of good tracks on this album despite a few tracks where the band tries to play the role of a boy band. Funny thing is, the songs I ended up liking most are on the first half of the album — the half that features lots of outside co-writing credits! Tracks 6-13 were all written by the band with only producer Pete Woodroffe stepping in to co-write a few songs.

The one song I instantly loved off this album was “Now”. To me, that is a classic Def Leppard sounding song and actually does sound like something to follow-up Euphoria with. “Scar” is another very good guitar-oriented song that rocks a bit harder than the rest and sounds close to something they might’ve done in the ’80s.

The album is full of mid-tempo numbers and ballads. It’s a complete pop album but I have a lot more respect for it now. It’s not a classic but it’s not bad at all and I upgrade it to “decent” and remove it’s previous status of “bland”. Maybe I’m going soft.

Highlights: “Now”, “Unbelievable”, “You’re So Beautiful”, “Everyday”, “Love Don’t Lie”, “Cry”, “Scar”

http://www.defleppard.com
http://www.facebook.com/defleppard

Buy ‘X’ on Amazon.com! (See all Pop Music CDs)

Journey – Eclipse

Journey – Eclipse (2011, Nomota LLC)

1. “City of Hope” … 6:02
2. “Edge of the Moment” … 5:27
3. “Chain of Love” … 6:10
4. “Tantra” … 6:27
5. “Anything Is Possible” … 5:21
6. “Resonate” … 5:11
7. “She’s A Mystery” … 6:41
8. “Human Feel” … 6:44
9. “Ritual” … 4:57
10. “To Whom It May Concern” … 5:15
11. “Someone” … 4:35
12. “Venus” … 3:34

Band:
Arnel Pineda – Lead Vocals
Neal Schon – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Ross Valory – Bass, Backing Vocals
Deen Castronovo – Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals
Jonathan Cain –Keyboards, Guitar, Backing Vocals

Producer: Kevin Shirley with Neal Schon and Jonathan Cain

(And now for a really long review…)

After the incredible success of Revelation as a Wal-Mart exclusive in the United States, it was a no-brainer for Journey to ink a new deal with the world’s largest retailer for Eclipse (in other markets the album was released on the Frontiers Records label), their 15th studio album. Despite not having two extra discs to help boost sales like Revelation did, Eclipse still debuted at a very respectable #13 on the Billboard charts with 21,000 copies sold.

With that said, THIS is a Journey I could really grow to love! Obviously the band has delivered many classic radio staples over the years and the “hits” I have never had a problem with but for the longest time I could not fall in love with any of the band’s albums no matter who the singer was (and let’s be honest, no matter your preference, the vocalists have always delivered even when songwriting maybe did not). Sure, Journey’s albums have been “good” or even “very good” to my ears but there’s always been a certain wimp factor to AOR/melodic rock. A band like Journey has always been especially disappointing to me because Neal Schon has always seemed so content to rein in his guitar playing so that Jonathon Cain can deliver another keyboard-drenched ballad. Schon could’ve been a true guitar hero.

Well, I don’t know how it happened. I guess after the success of Revelation, the band finally decided to take somewhat of a chance because I’m happy to say the guitars are all over this album and Schon is standing center stage on this release. The keyboards have taken a backseat (as much of a backseat that they’re ever going to take in this band). Neal is dropping solos and inspired riffs all throughout the album but don’t get it twisted — this is not a “guitar” album as I have read other reviews state. Yes, Journey is rocking harder than they have in YEARS but it’s still Journey and you’re still gonna get some sticky sweet ‘n’ pleasant AOR sap in your ears after listening to this one.

It’s really the first half of the album that is most impressive. “City of Hope” is a good selection to open the album. It is a larger than life uplifting melodic rock song. “Edge of the Moment” is all Schon and is one of the album’s best songs. “Chain of Love” starts off with the keyboards but then kicks into a nice heavy guitar riff that reminds me of Led Zeppelin. “Tantra” is the album’s only true ballad and quite frankly, it’s a powerful and majestic one at that, almost sounds like something I’d expect to hear from Trans-Siberian Orchestra. “Anything Is Possible” is next and it’s acceptable but nothing essential, just the standard positive AOR message.

Halfway through the album is Eclipse‘s crown jewel: “Resonate”. Just a fantastic piece of work, very catchy, the chorus will stay in your head for days and it’s on par with the band’s classic material. I had see a live performance of this song on YouTube month’s before the album’s release. I loved the song then and I still love it now. Next up is “She’s A Mystery” which is a bit laid back sounding for Journey I think and does’t really go anywhere until closer to the end where it turns into a hard rocking number with Schon going mad on guitar. Too bad the first five minutes or so of the song weren’t like this.

Oh well, we’re saved by “Human Feel” which has a really cool tribal drum beat to it and more good riffs. My second favorite song off the album. Just a really fun song, I could see this going over really well live. “Ritual” is a high energy number but yet still a bit bland. Along with “To Whom It May Concern” you can pretty much count it as filler. “Someone” is a step in the right direction, pure upbeat AOR but still good. The album closes on a high note with the instrumental “Venus”. Yet another showcase for Neal Schon.

After all this time of talking about Schon firing up the guitars for this album, I should also point out that on his second Journey album, Arnel is starting to come into his own. On Revelation, he seemed like he was trying to sound like Steve Perry. He wasn’t doing a bad job of it but it’s nice to hear him now using his “real” singing voice in the band.

This is a must buy for AOR fans and anyone with even the slightest interest in melodic rock should definitely give this album a listen. The old masters are back and sounding as vital as ever and re-energized. Hopefully Journey will continue down this more hard rockin’ road… or at the very least I hope Neal gets inspired to give us a blistering solo album some day.

I was expecting a few good tracks and for this album to be a decent casual listen but it’s shaping up to be one of 2011’s best releases.

Highlights: “City of Hope”, “Edge of the Moment”, “Chain of Love”, “Tantra”, “Resonate”, “Human Feel”, “Venus”

http://www.journeymusic.com
http://www.facebook.com/journey

Marvelous 3 – Hey! Album

Marvelous 3 – Hey! Album (1998, Elektra Records)

1. “You’re So Yesterday” .. 3:56
2. “Freak of the Week” … 3:20
3. “Until You See” … 4:20
4. “Write It On Your Hand” … 3:23
5. “Let Me Go” … 3:21
6. Every Monday” … 3:06
7. “Indie Queen” … 4:52
8. “#27” … 2:51
9. “Mrs. Jackson” … 3:33
10. “Over Your Head” … 3:40
11. “Vampires In Love” … 4:01
12. “Lemonade” … 6:42

Band:
Butch Walker – Vocals, Guitar
Jayce Fincher – Bass
Doug Mitchell (aka – Mitch “Slug” McLee) – Drums

Producer: Butch Walker & Jim Ebert

The second album (first major label release) from the short-lived but fantastic power pop/rock group Marvelous 3. It was the only album to produce a hit single (“Freak of the Week”). I knew nothing about this band or album or “Freak of the Week” until I picked up ReadySexGo two years later but when I backtracked and bought this album, I ended up loving it almost as much as I love ReadySexGo.

Released in October of ’98, the album was actually self-released in early ’98 but then Elektra signed the band and the album was remixed and a few songs were dropped/added. “Cold As Hell” was on the original version of the album and later found its way onto ReadySexGo.

I don’t really know what to tell you if you can’t get into this album. Marvelous 3 is one of the catchiest bands of all time. Every song is a sing-along, whether it’s bombastic anthems like “Freak of the Week” and “You’re So Yesterday” or melancholy moments like “Until You See” and “Let Me Go”. Butch is a great vocalist and great lyricist. I’ve always loved the sense of humor, wordplay, self-deprecation and teenage emotions that come through in his lyrics. Sample from “Vampires In Love”: And now you know that I suck at this/and you suck at it too/And now we’re nothing more than/vampires in love

How this band never went on to sell millions of albums I’ll never know. Butch went on to become a successful songwriter/producer but he’s gone on a totally different path as a solo act, which is a shame. Anyone that’s a fan of power pop should love this album.

Highlights: “You’re So Yesterday”, “Freak Of The Week”, “Until You See”, “Write It On Your Hand”, “Let Me Go”, “Every Monday”, “Indie Queen”

Gunfire 76 – Casualties & Tragedies

Gunfire 76 – Casualties & Tragedies (2009, Wednesday 13, LLC)

1. “Let’s Kill The Hero” … 2:51
2. “Casualties And Tragedies” … 3:31
3. “Nothing’s All I Need” … 3:18
4. “Los Angel-Less” … 4:26
5. “Rocket To Nowhere” … 3:55
6. “Something For The Suffering” … 4:24
7. “One More Reason To Hate You” … 3:52
8. “Tell You Like It Is” … 3:40
9. “What Did You Expect” … 3:47
10. “Back To The Gutter” … 3:35
11. “Get Me Through The Night”  … 5:16

Band:
Wednesday 13 – Lead Vocals, Guitar
Roman Surman – Guitar
Jamie Hoover – Bass, Percussion, Backing Vocals
Jason West – Drums

Additional Musicians:
Ziad – Saxophone (“Back To The Gutter”)

Producer: Wednesday 13

I recently came across Gunfire 76 because they were one of Amazon.com’s recommendations while I was viewing another artist’s album page. I’ve started to discover many cool bands based on their recommends! The band is one of a seemingly endless number of side projects for Wednesday 13 (what’s his main project?). I never got into Murderdolls so I wasn’t sure if this was gonna be something for me. I click on the samples, thought they were pretty cool and ordered myself a copy.

On their MySpace page, Gunfire 76 cites New York Dolls, KISS, Deadboys and The Stooges as what they sound like and all of that is true and can be said for most projects Wednesday 13 is involved with but there’s a twist this time. Instead of the trashy horror punk Wednesday usually plays this album is glam rock meets classic rock meets punk rock. Lyrically, the album is a lot different too and while some song lyrics feature some of the signature angst from Mr. 13, there’s no B-grade horror movie lyrics to be found.

The whole album is just so catchy. Listen to “Los Angel-Less”, “Something For The Suffering”, “One More Reason To Hate You”, “Back To The Gutter” (love the saxophone!) and “Get Me Through The Night” and try to get those songs out of your head. A song like “Get Me Through The Night” comes off like a great lost ’70s glam rock classic, I can hear Starz or Angel playing something like this or even Alice Cooper while “Tell You Like It Is” gives me a KISS vibe circa Rock and Roll Over.

Wednesday 13 fans probably are already aware of this album but even if you’re not a fan of his usual stuff, anyone who like ’70s rock, glam and punk will really enjoy this one. Looking back, it’s easily one of the best albums of 2009. Nothing but fun from top to bottom… Too bad I didn’t listen to it until 2011!

Highlights: “Let’s Kill The Hero”, “Los Angel-less”, “Something For The Suffering”, “One More Reason To Hate You”, “Tell You Like It Is”, “What Did You Expect”, “Get Me Through The Night”

http://www.myspace.com/gunfire76/

40FT. RINGO – Funny Thing

40Ft. Ringo – Funny Thing (2003, Atenzia Records)

1. “Anyway”… 2:41
2. “Wired” … 3:31
3. “Inside Your Head” … 2:38
4. “Big Fat Smile” … 3:25
5. “Origami Mommy” … 4:26
6. “Book Of Virtues” … 3:52
7. “Be My Fix” …
8. “A Freak Like You” … 3:01
9. “Unbroken” … 3:14
10. “Miss You Blue” … 4:00
11. “Anti-Zero” … 3:15
12. “Fanatic” … 3:25
13. “Tough” … 3:07

Band:
Steve Brown – Vocals, Guitar
Maz – Guitar
P.J. Farley – Bass
Brian Gabriel – Drums

Producer: Steve Brown & P.J. Farley

Early last decade, I had a great affinity for modern power pop/hard rock music. I loved the music that was being put out by Marvelous 3, Tsar, American Hi-Fi, Zebrahead and 40Ft. Ringo. I’ve been familiar with most of this album for nearly 8 years now (I think most of it “leaked” much earlier than the album’s release) but it was only recently I finally snatched up a used copy on Amazon.com for only a few bucks.

Much like Marvelous 3, 40Ft. Ringo has a hair metal connection — both Steve Brown and P.J. Farley are members of New Jersey hair rockers Trixter. I’m not too familiar with Trixter’s work, they came along as the scene was dying and never got glowing reviews so I haven’t bothered to sample much other than their singles.

As for this album, it’s an infectious rock & power pop album complete with a bit of the punk pop sound that was popular about the time this album was released (Blink-182, SR-71, Eve 6… Why all the numbers ?!?). There’s so many great radio-ready songs on this album. While this is an indie release that I’m sure had an extremely limited marketing budget, I’m also certain the fact that half the band was from a “hair band” didn’t help them at all. It’s sad but that’s just the way mainstream entertainment industry operates.

It’s great to finally have this album in my collection as I hadn’t heard these songs in years and still remembered most of them!

Highlights: “Anyway”, “Inside Your Head”, “Big Fat Smile”, “Origami Mommy”, “Book Of Virtues”, “Be My Fix”, “Anti-Zero”, “Tough”

http://www.mojovegas.com/40ftringo/

DANKO JONES – Below The Belt

Danko Jones – Below The Belt [European Import] (2010, Bad Taste Records)

1. “I Think Bad Thoughts” … 3:31
2. “Active Volcanoes” … 3:35
3. “Tonight Is Fine” … 4:21
4. “Magic Snake” … 3:19
5. “Had Enough” … 3:42
6. “(I Can’t Handle) Moderation” … 3:04
7. “Full Of Regret” … 3:58
8. “The Sore Loser” … 2:59
9. “Like Dynamite” … 3:14
10. “Apology Accepted” … 3:30
11. “I Wanna Break Up With You” … 4:56

Band:
Danko Jones – Vocals, Guitar
John Calabrese – Bass
Dan Cornelius – Drums

Producer: Matt DeMatteo

I’ve been curious about Danko Jones for awhile. I’ve heard good things about them (him?) for years and have checked the MySpace page from time to time but never got around to picking an album. A few weeks back I went to their Myspace page again and really got hooked on a number of their songs and decided to give their latest effort a try.

I really enjoy the lyrics to these songs, there’s not many bands whose lyrics I worry about reading anymore (that seems to have been more of a teenage thing for me) but I have been paying attention to the lyrics on this album just because they’re so humorous and witty. There’s a certain swagger to Danko’s vocal delivery and definitely a sense of humor in himself and the lyrics that remind me of a band like Marvelous 3.

As for what this band sounds like — it’s like classic rock, hard rock, modern rock, rock/pop and punk/pop all rolled into one. Even before noticing they cited these influences themselves, it was readily apparent to me that these guys are huge fans of AC/DC and Thin Lizzy. This isn’t retro rock though, this is an updated take on good time rock ‘n’ roll.

“Full Of Regret” really blew me away, strong Thin Lizzy influence on this one. From the collection of songs I’ve heard from this band, it’s easily one of my favorites they’ve done. It is also because of this song I was led back to their MySpace page because it was offered as a free download a few months ago, I can’t remember whether that was through their own website or not though. I think maybe it was on Amazon. So there ya go, I’m proof positive that giving away something free every now and then to music fans can actually turn out to be quite profitable.

All of these songs are high energy affairs. I supposed All Music guide might tag this album as “rowdy”, “raucous” and “guys night out”! If you’re getting ready for a night out on the town of booze, women and possibly a few fist fights — this is the album for you because this album covers all those topics though most of it seems to deal being in or getting out of a bad relationship. Hm, is someone getting their issues out in their songs?

Below The Belt may not be “metal”, but it’s definitely hard rock and one of my favorite releases of 2010 and I plan on picking up some earlier releases now.

My particular copy is a European import but I don’t think it differs from the North American version. The jewel case is a “Super Jewel Box” which is really cool with rounded corners and the case snaps shut and has a button you have to press to open it. Seems a bit sturdier than the standard jewel case too and the CD sits deep in the CD tray. I wish all jewel cases were like these!

Highlights: “I Think Bad Thoughts”, “Tonight Is Fine”, “Had Enough”, “Full Of Regret”, “The Sore Loser”, “Apology Accepted”

www.dankojones.com
www.myspace.com/dankojones

ALEXX CALISE – In Avanti

Alexx Calise – In Avanti (2010, self-released)

1. “Anything Goes” … 3:37
2. “Break Me” … 3:37
3. “Cry” … 3:12
4. “Get Used To It” … 3:36
5. “Good Enough (The Dirty South Mix)” … 3:09
6. “My Song (Version 2.0)” … 3:09
7. “Out of Sight” … 3:34
8. “Saying Goodbye” … 3:37
9. “See You Again” … 4:30

Last year I reviewed Alexx Calise’s 2007 release Morning Pill. It was a good collection of radio-ready rock and pop and In Avanti is more of the same. Actually, I’m enjoying In Avanti a lot more Morning Pill, it’s just a stronger record that speaks volumes of Ms. Calise’s growth as a singer, musician and songwriter and is full of hooks and melodies that keep me coming back for more. I said in the past that Alexx was at her best when rocking out and luckily that’s what she does throughout most of this release. The album only slows down a bit for the ballads “Cry”, “Out of Sight” and “See You Again” but they are all well done, so it’s not a problem.

There’s really no reason this album shouldn’t gain Alexx even more attention. The album is made up of songs that are what I like to call “hard rock pop”. The songs are heavy enough to be considered rock songs and get on modern rock radio but they also have slick electronica dance beats that would make them sound right at home on the pop stations. It’s quite a balancing act that Alexx has mastered. My favorite tracks would have to be “Anything Goes” which was a great choice to open the album and go full throttle right from the start and “Out of Sight”, which reminds me of Evanescence.

Oh and if you’ve listened to Morning Pill and think “My Song (Version 2.0)” seems familiar, you’re right. It is an updated version of “My Song”. Often times when an artist revisits and updates past songs, it doesn’t work but his version is an improvement, it’s a powerful club rocker.

At nine songs, Alexx Calise does not wear out her welcome and leaves you wanting more. I wish more albums would be this lean! She is becoming quite the accomplished singer just as capable to sound pretty over dance & pop beats as she is to let her voice soar over crunching guitars. Anyone who doesn’t mind a modern sound and enjoys melodic hard rock should find this an enjoyable listen.

Highlights: “Anything Goes”, “Cry”, “Get Used To It”, “Good Enough (The Dirty South Mix)”, “My Song (Version 2.0)”, “Out of Sight”

www.alexxcalise.net
www.myspace.com/alexxcalise

BON JOVI – Keep the Faith

Bon Jovi – Keep the Faith (1992, Mercury Records)

1. “I Believe” … 5:58
2. “Keep the Faith” … 5:46
3. “I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead” … 4:43
4. “In These Arms” … 5:19
5. “Bed of Roses” … 6:34
6. “If I Was Your Mother” … 4:27
7. “Dry County” … 9:52
8. “Woman in Love” … 3:48
9. “Fear” … 3:06
10. “I Want You” … 5:46
11. “Blame it on the Love of Rock and Roll” … 4:24
12. “Little Bit of Soul” … 5:44

Band:
Jon Bon Jovi – Lead Vocals, Backing Vocals, Guitar, Percussion
Richie Sambora – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Alec John Such – Bass, Backing Vocals
Tico Torres – Drums, Percussion
David Bryan – Keyboards, Backing Vocals

Producer: Bob “Let’s Not” Rock

Four years after the band peaked with New Jersey, here comes the slide into mediocrity (which would be fully explored in the 2000s). This album is a mixed bag (the first half is good, most of the rest is filler), but it signaled a somber, more mature sound that would be taken even further with These Days from 1995. In general, Keep the Faith shows the band’s decision to rock a little less and age into an adult contemporary rock act.

Filler starts popping up with “If I Was Your Mother”, but the excellent & epic “Dry County” (Bon Jovi going the Springsteen/Mellencamp route) and “I Want You” (a power ballad that would sound right at home on Slippery When Wet or New Jersey) and worth skipping too. Outside of those two songs, the second half of this album features some of my least favorite Bon Jovi songs.

The odd thing is, the album overall shows the band getting softer and slower, but “If I Was Your Mother” and “Fear” are two of the heaviest songs the band has ever done. Perhaps they were trying to compensate for the rest of the album?

Highlights: “I Believe”, “Keep the Faith”, “I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead”, “In These Arms”, “Bed of Roses”, “Dry County”, “I Want You”

www.bonjovi.com
www.myspace.com/bonjovi

BON JOVI – Have a Nice Day

Bon Jovi – Have a Nice Day (2005, Island Records)

1. “Have a Nice Day” … 3:49
2. “I Want to Be Loved” … 3:49
3. “Welcome to Wherever You Are” … 3:47
4. “Who Says You Can’t Go Home” … 4:40
5. “Last Man Standing” … 4:37
6. “Bells of Freedom” … 4:55
7. “Wildflower” … 4:13
8. “Last Cigarette” … 3:38
9. “I Am” … 3:53
10. “Complicated” … 3:37
11. “Novocaine” … 4:49
12. “Story of My Life” … 4:08
13. “Who Says You Can’t Go Home” [Duet Version] … 3:50

Band:
Jon Bon Jovi – Lead Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Backing Vocals
Richie Sambora – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Tico Torres – Drums, Percussion
David Bryan – Piano, Keyboards, Backing Vocals

Additional Musicians:
Hugh McDonald – Bass, Backing Vocals
Jennifer Nettles – Lead Vocals (“Who Says You Can’t Go Home” [Duet Version])
Dan Huff – Bouzouki, Mandolin
Johathan Yudkin – Fiddle, Mandolin
Dan Dugmore – Steel Guitar

Produced by: Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora, John Shanks, Dan Huff, Rick Parashar

I absolutely did NOT like this album when it was released and it quickly was thrown in with the rest of my collection and forgotten. There’s a few songs on here I like, but this album is Bon Jovi’s full-blown descent into mediocrity, soccer mom rock and the land of no hooks. The signs were starting to show on Bounce that the band was becoming content to just be bland, but it’s even more apparent here.

Unfortunately, the album spawned the big crossover hit “Who Says You Can’t Go Home” featuring country music group Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettles. Whether you’re listening to the duet version or not, they’re both pretty country sounding and neither one is good. Sure, if this song was a blip on the Bon Jovi radar, that’s one thing, but I said it was an unfortunate hit because it “inspired” (meaning Jon & Richie saw dollar signs) the band to follow up this album with the Nashville-flavored Lost Highway.

“Last Man Standing” is probably the closest song resembling the band’s harder rocking heyday and a version of it was included on the band’s 100,000,000 Bon Jovi Fans Can’t Be Wrong box set. The song was originally meant to be included as one of two new songs on the band’s This Left Feels Right acoustic album where they covered some of their own greatest hits.

Even long time collaborator Desmond Child could help this album much. He co-wrote “Bells of Freedom” with Jon & Richie (and was executive producer of the album) but the magic just wasn’t there this time.

Highlights: “Have a Nice Day”, “I Want to Be Loved”, “Last Man Standing”, “Complicated”

www.bonjovi.com
www.myspace.com/bonjovi

JOHNNY LIMA – Livin’ Out Loud

Johnny Lima – Livin’ Out Loud (2009, Shock Pop Records)

1. “All I Wanna Do” … 2:52
2. “Wildflower” … 3:39
3. “Hate To Love You” … 3:29
4. “I’m On Fire” … 4:03
5. “Somebody To Love” … 3:47
6. “Caught In The Middle” … 3:14
7. “Gimme Some Rock, So I Can Roll” … 3:19
8. “Livin’ Out Loud” … 3:44
9. “Still Waiting For You” … 3:03
10. “Long Way Down” … 3:02
11. “Hard To Say Goodbye” … 4:10
12. “‘Til Love Is Gone” … 3:58

Band:
Johnny Lima – Lead & Backing Vocals, Guitar, Bass, Keyboard
Craig Takeshita – Guitar
Bernie F. Diaz – Drums

Additional Musicians:
Danny Danzi – Guitar
Christian Wolff – Guitar
Brandon Baumann – Backing Vocals

Produced by: Johnny Lima

This album has more hooks than a fisherman! If Wildstreet is the new Def Leppard, Johnny Lima is the new Bon Jovi (with a dash of Def Leppard as well)! The vocal similarities with Jon are uncanny and I love it because JBJ one of my favorite rock singers. You won’t find any attempts at mainstream success through country music here though. It’s all reminiscent of the hard rock and rock/pop that Bon Jovi was known for (and had their most success with) during the 80s.

To be honest, I had never knew of Johnny Lima (I didn’t even recognize his name from producing Freakshow’s debut) before reading the Sleaze Roxx review for this album. I went to his MySpace page and fell in love with what was up there for streaming.

This is pure fun rock ‘n’ roll, a great blend of 80s/Bon Jovi-styled pop rock and you can sing along (loud) to every song here. None of this sounds date though. Yes, there is the obvious influence, but the only song where it sounds like it very well may have been written in the 80s is on “Hard To Say Goodbye” when the keyboards are in play, but I think that’s a cool touch to the song anyway.

Anyone who has an appreciation for old school Bon Jovi and Def Leppard should pick up this album. It’s one of 2009’s best releases and it’s so catchy you’d swear the songwriting credits should have read Bon Jovi/Sambora/Child.

I don’t wanna sound like a pitch man, but be sure to check out Johnny’s site and MySpace and then ORDER THE CD at either his website or CD Baby. Johnny was nice enough to autograph the inside of the booklet for me!

Highlights: “Hate To Love You”, “Somebody To Love”, “Caught In The Middle”, “Livin’ Out Loud”, “Still Waiting For You”, “Long Way Down”, “Hard To Say Goodbye”, “‘Til Love Is Gone”

www.johnnylima.com
www.myspace.com/johnnylima
cdbaby.com/cd/lima4

%d bloggers like this: