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)

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Y&T ~ Contagious

(Click on heading to visit official website of Dave Meniketti & Y&T.)
Style: hard rock
Label: Geffen
Year: 1987
Home: n/a

Members: Dave Meniketti ~ vocals/lead guitars
Joey Alves ~ guitars
Phil Kennemore ~ bass/b. vocals
Jimmy DeGrasso ~ drums

Additional: Kevin Beamish ~ b. vocals
Steffen Presley ~ keyboards


Rated their worst studio album by Allmusic.com ... it's not that bad, unless you don't like Def Leppard as that's who first came to mind when listening to this album for the first time. Y&T turn in by the book 80's hard rock arena metal with big backing choruses (for example, "Temptation"), i.e. the Def Leppard moments, that in hindsight might be one of the factors in why this doesn't rate higher. I do have to say that both my brother & I started talking about this album one afternoon & both agree it's not that bad for what it is which is a child of its era. Certainly, it keeps you interested enough to potentially check out more from Y&T, a band that should be better well-known than they are. Contagious is made for & is a product of the 80's & if you like the 80's you'll surely like this. Alongside Def Leppard one will also find Sammy Hagar-esque throwaway lyrics (for example, "The Kid Goes Crazy") about sex, partying & rock'n'roll with guitar licks being reminiscent of an unpolished Motley Crue. The fact that Y&T, formerly known as Yesterday & Today, predate two of these four references is the sad part. Y&T had a great reputation as a live band, but were never able to turn out that same energy in the studio, for whatever reason, thus their studio albums are like comparing the Doors or Grateful Dead live versus in the studio. The studio albums aren't bad but both bands can only be truly understood in a live context. Thus, the studio albums tend to sound like a band fitting a mold rather than expanding it. Contagious wears the 80's arena rock mold with perfection & thus drowns in the vat of imitation instead of originality. Contagious is an example of a band trying too hard. The fact that the follow-up live album would get rave reviews from Allmusic.com is just proof where their success lied. It's really ashame as Y&T had some top notch guitar playing & expressive singing by charismatic frontman Meniketti. It's a rare case where lead guitarist & lead vocalist are in the same shoes but without feeling like it's actually Meniketti with backing band. The thing that's in this album's favor is it doesn't rely on garbage sex lyrics such as Danger Danger's second album or countless other cock rock bands. Speaking of Danger Danger, a guitarist who would play with them during their demo days only to later join Alice Cooper, Asia & then Megadeth, Al Pitrelli, finds one of his earliest writing credits here in "Temptation" with bassist Bruno Ravel who'd form Danger Danger. Y&T's second drummer DeGrasso would later join Megadeth & be responsible for suggesting Pitrelli to join Megadeth. Contagious is DeGrasso's debut with Y&T, though don't blame it not being good on him. Melodic rock, powerful guitars, but unmemorable lyrics. Three things that more often then not describe the 80's. Get them all here in spades. But, if you really want a good starting album for a Y&T adventure check their two Unearthed albums featuring demos/outtakes that never made it to any official release but might be the album Y&T should have made.

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