April 17, 2008

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Whitesnake, Good to be Bad
SPV Records, April 22
Times have changed for the most Freudian-named band of all time. Ravaged by time though the band is, this record is in many ways one of their best, revisiting the days leading up to all the cumbersome 80s-hair nonsense, ie this is a flashback to 1984’s Slide It In, again with all due respect to Sigmund. (One endearing aspect of this new release is Coverdale’s disclaimer to us hateful press jerks, saying in incalculably measured words that even if we maul this album with our keyboards he’s proud to go down with this ship.)

Thing is, there’s nothing to hate if you’re gunning for slow-poke hair-metal ballads sung over millions of layers of guitar and mile-wide snare-drums. The slickest song — “Best Years,” a very nifty rewiring of the 12-bar blues idea — is put out front as the opener, a sign that Coverdale assumed the position of a nobody-newbie fighting for his artistic life. This accomplished, he indulges in a few familiar Zeppelin nicks (“Lay Down Your Love” is a modified “Black Dog”) and “Love Ain’t No Stranger”-like ballads, ending the record with tasteful strings and barely-there drums in “Til the End of Time.” AEric W. Saeger