I’ve listened to this CD several dozen times, but it took me a while to warm up to IV. I wasn’t expecting something so thought-provoking and progressive. Winger has always been more complex and more musically sound than its peers, but I was expecting this CD to rock like 80s Winger with maybe a slight pull to their 90s style. (Sorry, couldn’t resist!) Even as a die-hard Winger fan, at first I was almost annoyed that the band tried to tackle a thematic topic as serious and controversial as Iraq.
But like most progressive rock/metal discs (think Queensryche or Dream Theater), this one really grows on you with each listen. The political commentary is creative and right on the mark. The tribute to our troops and the mind’s-eye view of what our soldiers must be experiencing is quite moving. There are a few weaknesses and a few risks that didn’t pan out in my opinion. (What’s up with saying “Uh-oh, is it too hot?” right before track 5?? Say “cheese!”) So I don’t think this is quite a 5-star effort.
But it’s not fair or accurate for reviewers to give this a knee-jerk 2 star review after listening to it once or twice. (See some of the Amazon reviews in the [IMPORT] version of this CD.) On the other hand, David Johnson’s January 5 review describes “Disappear” and “Can’t Take it Back” perfectly. “Disappear” is dark, brooding, and a little twisted. It’s a window into the mind of a soldier desperate for a connection. “Can’t Take it Back” serves as an open letter to the President of the United States. (Despite how unfairly smeared Winger’s reputation was in the Beavis & Butthead era, even Winger’s loudest critics would take this track seriously.) Overall “Disappear” and “Can’t Take it Back” are two of Winger’s best tracks of all-time, regardless of whether you preferred Winger’s radio hits or hidden gems like “Rainbow in the Rose” and “Blind Revolution Mad.” These 2 tracks alone are worth the purchase price and then some.
I will see the band on tour in Florida next weekend — can’t wait! I might even have to travel across the state to see a few shows back to back. Because who knows when we’ll have a chance to relive our youth again with a serious but fun, underrated band in an intimate venue? It’s great to have you guys back — an unexpected gift for us Winger fans of old, and the first step in building a cult fan base in the MySpace generation!