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Good To Be Bad
Good To Be Bad
SPV Records
Hard Rock
Mark Balogh
4.0 stars

WHITESNAKE is a classic - even legendary - band in the hard rock genre so there are probably a lot of people looking forward to “Good To Be Bad”, the groups first new studio album in over 10 years! The band put out a live album a couple of years ago with a few new studio tracks but that’s been all since the release of “Restless Heart” back in 1997. The bands history is fairly well known so no background information should be needed. So without further delay let’s get right into the review of the new record!

The album opens with the song “Best Years”. I have to say upon first hearing this song I wasn’t all that impressed until the stellar guitar solo kicked in. When I heard the great axe work by Doug Aldrich (and Reb Beach) I would have to be forgiven for thinking it was 1987 all over again! They recreate what I can only describe as the “classic WHITESNAKE” guitar tone (which John Sykes is probably mostly responsible for!) and it’s certainly nice to hear it again. Upon repeated listens through, the song has evolved into more of a groove-laden mid-paced rocker and is actually quite cool now. David Coverdale’s vocals are sounding in fine form, if not just a slight bit “subdued” from his earlier days.

Can You Hear The Wind Blow” starts out sounding like vintage WHITESNAKE with a cool guitar riff before Coverdale comes in with his signature vocals. The song to me sounds like it could have come off the “Slip Of The Tongue” album. It’s a solid hard rock song with a memorable yet simple sing-along chorus.

Call On Me” offers more of tougher almost modernized WHITESNAKE sound mainly due to the guitars but the song is again catchy in the chorus and still firmly in the WHITESNAKE mold.

The first ballad of the album is in the form of “All I Want All I Need. The song is very much in line with past WHITESNAKE ballads. It’s smooth and Coverdale’s vocals are as passionate as ever.

Next up is the title track “Good To Be Bad”. The track has a vintage “Slid It In” feel to it with some updated elements. A very cool track indeed! I could almost see they chose this as the title of the album because it signifies the direction the band in 2008. It shows a great balance of old and new in the sound that is WHITESNAKE.

All For Love comes off sounding a little like WHITESNAKE meets THIN LIZZY if you could believe that! It’s a very cool and melodic tune with a great guitar solo and super catchy vocal lines from Coverdale.

I have to mention the use of Timothy Drury’s keyboards on this album are just about perfect. They are prevalent in just about every track but not over-used or too dominant in the mix (I mean that in a good way). Drury lays down some nice organ fills here and there to supplement the songs and add to the classic WHITESNAKE sound and it really ties in the bands past sound with it’s offerings in 2008.

The 2nd ballad of the record comes in the form of “Summer Rain” and this is a completely different sound for WHITESNAKE. The sound is acoustic based and the title is perfect because it really does have that “summer vibe” to it. It’s a nice change of pace for the album and a good song. Just to note; Coverdale’s vocals seem a bit raspy on this one.

The next two tracks bring a little slowdown to the record. “Lay Down Your Love” is a bluesy hard rocker. It’s not anything you haven’t heard before but even though this may not be one of the stronger tracks on the album the song isn’t total filler either, as it does have a pretty cool extended guitar “jam” in the middle, which is cool. And “A Fool In Love” which is kind of a mid-paced track which as strange as this may sound sort of makes me think this is what the classic “Crying In The Rain” would sound like had it been done as a straight blues number! For a lesser band these songs may have been total misses but in WHITESNAKE’s case they retain enough class for them to get by.

Got What You Need” speeds things up a notch with a full on rocker in the “Bad Boys” mold but with less class and a little more sleaze in the overall sound!

The record closes out with an acoustic-based bluesy number titled “’Til The End Of Time”. The song is mellow with a poignant vibe and is something I could see being on the self-titled COVERDALE/PAGE album from 1993.

Overall, “Bad To Be Good” features a little bit of everything that has made up the WHITESNAKE and David Coverdale sound over the years… classy hard rock, great guitar work and some blues wrapped around an assortment of rockers and ballads. There may not be that one defining moment like the classic “Still of The Night” or “Here I Go Again” on this record but there are some solid tracks on offer here.

One other thing I hear while listening to “Good To Be Bad”it sounds like there was a conscious effort put into this record to maintain the sound that people know from WHITESNAKE but it’s been given enough of an update to not sound like a complete carbon-copy of their past efforts. I really wish more bands in this genre would do that these days. Let’s face it; this album won’t put the band back into arenas these days (at least in the US) but that doesn’t mean it’s not a quality, if not great, effort.

I have to say I’m pretty satisfied with WHITESNAKE in 2008 and if you were a fan of the band back in the day you’d be wise to pick up “Good To Be Bad”.

Band Lineup:
  • David Coverdale – Vocals
  • Doug Aldrich – Guitars
  • Reb Beach – Guitars
  • Uriah Duffy – Bass
  • Timothy Drury – Keyboards
  • Chris Frazier – Drums


Track Listing:
  1. Best Years
  2. Can You Hear The Wind Blow
  3. Call On Me
  4. All I Want All I Need
  5. Good To Be Bad
  6. All For Love
  7. Summer Rain
  8. Lay Down Your Love
  9. A Fool In Love
  10. Got What You Need
  11. `Til The End Of Time


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