CD Review: Whitesnake

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.”


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