All in all, it’s been a pretty good year. A lot of good music came out, Brian hasn’t been
passing me off any of his “SHIT” CD’s (like last years MYSTERY BLUE or MOONLIGHT COMEDY) to review, and I haven’t had to slam anyone so far. BUT WAIT! Here comes WINGER to step up to the plate!
Now don’t get me wrong… I like WINGER. I always thought Kip had a great voice and their light, poppy and melodic style was fun and entertaining. Certainly enough for their first three releases to warrant a place in my CD collection but the bands latest effort, “IV,” is a MAJOR disappointment.
I can understand when a band or musician wants to try and keep up with the times and, for the most part, it can be done without sacrificing your roots or individual style. WINGER, on the other hand, seems to have just taken it a bit too far not only sacrificing
their own identity, but their own credentials as well. And I really tried with this one… I really, really tried and listened to it at least 5 times before coming to this review.
The first track, “Right Up Ahead,” is borderline unlistenable. It almost sounds like a
bad imitation of DIO from the “Angry Machines” era… which we all know certainly wasn’t Ronnie’s finest hour. And “Blue Suede Shoes” IS unlistenable! Wow… still trying to get this one out of my head. I guess the best way to try and describe it would be
a slow, dragging, drolling… err, ballad? I think, anyway…
Now if any track could have possibly saved this CD, it would be “Four Leaf Clover.”
It has a nice, flowing melody accompanied by a strong, catchy chorus and is definitely
the most WINGER-ish and commercial sounding track on the release. It almost fooled me into believing the album was starting to flow again in the right direction… but then
along comes “M16.” This song is just musically and lyrically sad… very, very sad.
Now THIS is good shit! “Your Great Escape” kicks in to high gear and reverts again
back to that old WINGER style. It’s a bit heavy but still very melodic with a strong,
chorus and nice hook. Come on, Kip! Keep it up like this!
Oh no… I can feel it weakening again through “Disappear” (an “ok” rocker but still a
bit harsh for WINGER) and the ballady, acoustic-oriented “On A Day Like Today.” Again, it’s “ok” and features some nice acoustic guitar work by Reb Beach (I think… but can’t be completely sure since the label didn’t even bother to send anything but a burned CD-R in a plastic slip case!) but still… it’s nothing special and not what you would expect.
“Livin’ Just To Die” features a good rhythm and a harmonic chorus, which is unmistakably WINGER while “Short Flight To Mexico” is a decent power-rocker and one of the better tracks on the CD.
Please kill me! “Generica” will haunt my dreams for many, many months to come.
With some extremely weird vocal effects, some strange vocal accents and a torturous, almost chanting chorus, this one easily falls into the “What the HELL were you thinking?” category. And just when you think it can’t get any worse… along comes “Can’t Take It Back” to not only finish off the album but make you get down on your knees and thank GOD it’s over!
Look, here’s the bottom line. WINGER fans in general are going to HATE this. If you are use to WINGER sounding like they did on their debut release, “In The Heart of the Young” or “Pull,” you’re going to be in for a rude awakening. Lets just try and chalk this one up as being the result of a 13 year hiatus and pray for the best next time around… if there IS a next time.
- Kip Winger - Lead Vocals, acoustic guitar, keyboards, electric bass
- Cenk Eroglu - Guitars, keyboards, programming
- John Roth - Guitars, background vocals
- Reb Beach - Guitars, background vocals
- Rod Morgenstein - Drums, percussion
- Right Up Ahead
- Blue Suede Shoes
- Four Leaf Clover
- Your Great Escape
- On A Day Like Today
- Livin’ Just To Die
- Short Flight To Mexico
- Can’t Take It Back