Round 2 – Group 9:
1.) Fire Within: Birdy
2.) Bleed American: Jimmy Eat World
3.) Slip Of The Tongue: Whitesnake
4.) Fat Of The Land: Prodigy
By the mid 90’s I was Whitesnake’s biggest fan. I remember buying the metal trilogy boxset containing Slide It In, 1987 and Slip Of The Tongue and keenly creating
a mixtape of all the best tracks for my car stereo. That wasn’t my first intro to Whitesnake though. I was already accustomed to their more bluesy work via a copy of their greatest hits up till 1982-ish. Some Whitesnake fans love bluesy Whitesnake and shun ‘hair metal’ Whitesnake. Me, I can appreciate both. There’s no way I’m shunning tracks like Still Of The Night and Is This Love.
I’m so tired of trying, I always end up crying
Anyhow, back to Slip Of The Tongue and with Vanderberg carrying a hand injury it was left to virtuoso guitarist Steve Vai to come along and spunk his ‘overplaying’ style all over Coverdale’s balladry goodness. Does it detract from the underlying bluesy nature of the songs? Hell yes it does. It’s way too screetchy and treads all over the record. There’s
still some melodic goodness on here though and some hair metal toons.
Meanwhile over in Prodigy’s Fat Of The Land you’ve got an album that still sounds edgy and dangerous. Those pumping electronica beats and high tech sampling rendering an engaging experience. Back in ’97 when this came out I would never have put this above any Whitesnake album. I remember when Firestarter was number 1 on TOTP and being somewhat shocked by the video, which probably looks tame now. I was no fan of dance music, at least not until my Brother in law handed me a compilation tape with some Future Sound Of London on it. Future Sound Of London was weird, very weird but it gave me a new appreciation of electronica and dance. It went against every fabric of my rock n’ roll sensibilities but I couldn’t deny the enjoyment I got from it, even if it was never going to compete with Pink Floyd. I realised early on in life that you must embrace music. Do not get stuck in genres, styles, stereotypes. Forget all that bullshit and just give it a try.
Ran out of Diesel Power
There really is nothing between ‘Slip‘ and ‘Fat‘. Both solid and engaging from start to finish, both featuring more than a couple of good tracks. Slip has the reworked Fool For Your Loving, Wings Of The Storm, Slip Of The Tongue and that ballad of life
Sailing Ships while Fat has the powerful beat of Smack My Bitch Up, chill out anthem Narayan and Breathe (baby!). Not that it matters as they are both going out but I’m edging it to Whitesnake, call me a retro metal sucker if you want but out of the two, that’s the one that I’ve been humming and singing the most round the house during this listening session.
Salt, sweat, sugar on the asphalt.
Bleed American is the agile fourth studio album from Jimmy Eat World. An inspired and inventive rock album that put the band in the mainstream by selling over a million units and easily finishing ahead of Whitesnake and Prodigy in this group. This is the kind of album that shows a band delivering their vision for rock n roll without compromise. Musically it’s bravely layered with accessible pop hooks while retaining some serious rock oomph. Lyrically delivering a mix of autobiographical storytelling with positive introspection along with the occasional piece of obligatory heartbreak (Your House). There’s not a bad song here from acute opener Bleed American through to gentle ballad My Sundown. A strong album which I had pegged as the group winner early on, and yet after the 5th, 6th, 7th listen of the group a Fire started to burn within me…..
Fire (Within) Starter
Birdy’s Fire Within has some truly lovely songs on it. The vocals are emotional and delectable in equal measure. Admittedly it’s an album that takes a little bit of effort at times, what with all the slow tempo piano/vocal ballads. But I find songs like Strange Birds and No Angel compelling and beautiful. Sure, Birdy doesn’t have the vocal power of Christina Aguilera but it’s not the vocals that need to be powerful, it’s the songs. As I said, it took a good 6 or 7 listens before I was sure, but in the end, with songs like Light Me Up, Words As Weapons and the gorgeous Home, Fire Within (eventually) rose to the top of this group.