Slide It In (Deluxe Edition)
Slip of the Tongue (Deluxe Edition)
By David Chiu
2009 looks to become a banner year for Whitesnake fans because the veteran rock group is celebrating two milestones: the 25th anniversary of Slide It In and the 20th anniversary of Slip of the tongue. While the two albums both display Whitesnake’s specialty of hard rock, they differ significantly in musical approach.
For those who only know David Coverdale and company’s pop metal classics from the self-titled 1987 album, its predecessor Slide It In, might be a shock to the system. Before the big hair, the synths and Tawny Kitaen, Whitensake was a lean British hard rock outfit. Its early sound was more in the vein of ‘70s Foreigner and Thin Lizzy than latter- period Def Leppard and Bon Jovi. That’s what makes Slide It In an actual and enjoyable listen with songs such as the title song, “Gambler,” “Love Ain’t No Stranger” and the catchy “Guilty of Love.” In addition to containing the original U.S. mix of the album, the 25th anniversary edition also features U.K. mixes of several songs and a DVD of performances and videos associated with the album. Except to diehard ‘Snake fans, this is an underrated record.
Of course the fortunes of the band’s dramatically changed following the mammoth success of the Whitesnake album (1987). So not surprisingly the follow-up, Slip of the Tongue, wasn’t a big departure from the radio friendly and bombastic arena sound that was typical of the hair metal era. What made this particular Whitensake album interesting was the addition of guitar god Steve Vai, who definitely made his presence known with some dazzling, out of the world solos. Though it didn’t yield hits as memorable as “Here I Go Again” and “Is This Love,” there are some good songs on off of Slip such as the title track, Fool for Your Loving (a remake of a song from Whitensake’s 1982 album Ready an’ Willing), the power ballad “The Deeper The Love,” and the Zeppelin-like “Judgement Day.” Slip of the Tongue is proof that topping a previously successful album can be very hard. This deluxe edition of the album also contains bonus tracks and a DVD of Slip’s videos and acoustic (!) performances of “Sailing Ships” and “The Deeper The Love.”
Perhaps of all the deaths of famous rock stars throughout history, Michael Jackson’s recent passing hit really hard for me personally. I grew up and lived through the Thriller-era madness when Jackson seemed to have ruled the world from 1983 and 1984. His music and presence was unescapable, whether it was a song from Thriller on the radio; the amazing “Beat It” and “Billie Jean” videos; a guest vocal appearance on Rockwell’s “Somebody’s Watching Me”; and the Victory tour with his brothers. As we’ve all learned, especially in the last couple of days, Jackson was certainly larger than life.
The Thriller era is how I remember Jackson. Nearly every cut on that record–the hits “Beat It,” “Billie Jean,” “Human Nature” (my personal favorite), “The Girl Is Mine,” “PYT,” “Wanna Be Starting Something,” and the title track—was classic. It is truly a great pop album and its record millions of copies sold is proof of its popularity and resonance. That to me is prime vintage Michael—a fruitful musical period that may never be duplicated.
It may be hard to separate the musical genius of Jackson with his latter-day eccentric behavior and extravagance, not to mention the scandals and criminal allegations. But clearly his influence on pop culture is not deniable. His popularity and talent has a unifying hold on so many people regardless of race, class division, or borders. Thus, Jackson should be best appreciated for that.
It’s not often that you have Blondie’s Deborah Harry and Pat Benatar—two of the greatest female pop singers of their era—on the same bill. But that’s the case this summer when both Blondie and Benatar are going to be touring together. And for us lucky New Yorkers, the two acts are coming to Brooklyn to play a free show on Aug. 13 at Asser Levy Park near Coney Island. Female punk-pop band The Donnas will be opening for both acts.
Read my interview with Deborah Harry in Spinner.com from last year.
If you haven’t checked out the latest issue of Rolling Stone, historian Douglas Brinkley has written a wonderful interview about Bob Dylan, who is the magazine’s cover story. Highly recommended.
Here’s an excerpt from that issue in which Dylan talks about The Ed Sullivan Show, in which CBS didn’t want him to perform “Talkin’ John Birch Paranoid Blues” in 1963:
“I just had it in my mind to do that particular song. I’d rehearsed it and it went down well. And I knew everybody back home would be watching me on The Ed Sullivan Show. But then I walked out of The Ed Sullivan Show, and they couldn’t have a chance to see me. So I don’t know what that says about me as a person.”
Image from RollingStone.com
After 20 years, a new George Harrison compilation will finally be released combining his songs from both the Capitol and Dark Horse Records eras. Capitol/EMI yesterday announced the tracklisting for Let It Roll: Songs By George Harrison, which is coming out on June 15th:
1. Got My Mind Set On You
2. Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth)
3. The Ballad Of Sir Frankie Crisp (Let It Roll)
4. My Sweet Lord
5. While My Guitar Gently Weeps [Live] – Concert For Bangladesh
6. All Things Must Pass
7. Any Road
8. This Is Love
9. All Those Years Ago
10. Marwa Blues
11. What Is Life
12. Rising Sun
13. When We Was Fab
14. Something [Live] – Concert For Bangladesh
15. Blow Away
16. Cheer Down
17. Here Comes The Sun [Live] – Concert For Bangladesh
18. I Don’t Want To Do It
19. Isn’t It A Pity
A live performance of “Wearing the Inside Out,” recorded from David Gilmour’s solo tour, featuring the vocals of Richard Wright, who died yesterday. Courtesy of YouTube.
“The Great Gig in the Sky,” from Pink Floyd’s 1973 album The Dark Side of the Moon, written by Richard Wright. Courtesy of YouTube.
Queen and Paul Rodgers are preparing for the release of their upcoming album The Cosmos Rocks. Here is a performance of their newest song “C-lebrity” courtesy of YouTube:
Madonna’s new and final album for Warner Bros., Hard Candy, is coming out on Tuesday—it’s the leadoff single “4 Minutes” (a duet with Justin Timberlake) is actually quite good. Marking 25 years in the business for the Material Girl, here is a video of “4 Minutes” :
By David Chiu
The positive reviews that have graced R.E.M.’s newest album are rightly justified; not since 1994’s Monster has the band ever sounded this much brasher and rockier evident on the punky “Living Well is the Best Revenge.” This a straightforward rock album with none of the electronic experimentations that have arguably mired the last couple of R.E.M. records—even the mid-tempo and slower tracks such as “Houston” and “Sing for the Submarine” sound even louder. The driving single “Supernatural Superserious” follows in the vein of another strong recent rocker “Bad Day,” while the last song I’m Gonna DJ sounds delightfully narcissistic with its opening lyric: “Death is pretty final/I’m collecting vinyl.” Just when the band was on the brink of having its best days way behind them, Accelerate proves any doubts of irrelevance wrong.
Watch a clip of “Supernatural Superserious”:
Queen and Paul Rodgers released a new single, “Say It’s Not True.” You can download the single for free by visiting the following web sites:
http://www.46664.com/118/ (watch a video of the song)
(graphic from 46664.com)