Welcome to the musical meandering insights of Aaron Joy. Here you'll find 600 reviews of CDs & DVDs of rock & metal in all its variations, mainstream & indie. What they all share is that the album or band is unique in some way & not every submission was reviewed. Please share these reviews or link to them if you like what you read. Reviews are no longer being posted here but feel free to e-mail Aaron & post comments. (Formerly the Roman Midnight Music Blog)

Friday, November 9, 2012

Whitesnake ~ Whitesnake (aka self-titled)

(Click on heading to visit official website.)
Style: hard rock
Label: Geffen
Year: 1987
Home: n/a

Members: David Coverdale ~ vocals
John Sykes ~ guitar/b. vocals
Neil Murray ~ bass
Aynsley Dunbar ~ drums

Additional: Don Airey, Bill Cuomo ~ keyboards
Adrian Vandenberg ~ guitar


It might have a Led Zeppelin flair when the album opens with frontman David Coverdale singing out sans music "A black cat moans..." but when the guitars kick in, via the great John Sykes, Led Zeppelin just got turned to 11 with some "Crying In The Rain". Some albums just have the perfect opening & Coverdale hit home with this self-titled release. Whitesnake hit home with a great opening, middle & end, for the most part, nearly perfectly tying together hard rock love ballads & commercially slick radio friendly rock. It's a stew so hot that only the biggest cynical music reviewing will poo-poo, just to be different not to have an opinion that counts. Its so perfect that decades later the songs are still as wonderful & rocking as hard as ever ... & still collecting fans. Why is Whitsnake so loved over the decades? Why is Coverdale considered such a good singer? What is it about his voice that's so mesmerizing, the secret to Whitesnake regardless of the line-up or the material? The tone & the phrasing & the nuance could have a book written about it. The short answer until that book is written is in a listen to this album. It'll only take one listen. "Crying In The Rain", "Here I Go Again", "Still Of The Night", "Give Me All Your Love" & "Is This Love" all became certified top requested MTV hits ... & there's only four more songs on the album & those aren't bad, just a little less memorable. Coverdale is always at his best when he's doing a smooth croon, not a fast lyric run, & the lesser known songs, such as "Bad Boys" tend to have the fast blistering lyrics, while some of the others (i.e. "Straight For The Heart", "Don't Turn Away") are just straight hard rock ballads of filler quality ... "Children Of The Night" could come out of Kiss its lyrics are so bland. These four songs just just don't have that little Whitesnake twist that takes them up a notch, or, they teeter too far on the commercially slick side. It's a fine line walked on this album concerning that dreaded ogre of commercialism. Though, its easy to forget just how many of the best hard rock bands of the 80's & 90's were quite slick & quite commercially bent. Compared to today's more rough & raw standards it can be almost embarressing to remember. Yet, somehow Coverdale & company are able to keep it rocking, even when keyboards or orchestral parts are dropped in, in a way where the music isn't watered down as was often the case of their peers. In many ways the music is highly predictable from the lyrics to the sound, but yet somehow Whitesnake turned in something that might be cliched bluesy hard rock but upped the ante. This might be Whitesnake at its best. The fact that this album pretty much shot Whitesnake up the charts is proof. It stands proudly alongside Coverdale's 70's output with Deep Purple & his introspective bluesy moment with Coverdale/Page. Ironically, before the tour Coverdale sacked the band & re-recorded some of the songs for single release. His new line-up included all recognizable names with guitarists Adrian Vandenberg & Vivian Campbell, former Ozzy rhythm section Rudy Sarzo & drummer Tommy Aldridge. These are the guys seen in the videos ... alongside a some hot chicks that would set up the Whitesnake image, along with its sound, all in one must have release. No band might ooze sex like Whitesnake! Even Madonna isn't this hot ... & her albums aren't either.

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