While many of their peers were abandoning ’70s metal and arena rock to hop the punk/new wave bandwagon, Def Leppard smartly stripped the earlier era’s music of its excesses, bolstered it with energetic, pop-savvy hooks and quickly found itself the vanguard of the UK’s new metal revival and one of the ’80s most spectacularly successful rock acts. The first disc of this 35-track, two-and-a-half hour double-disc retrospective focuses on the familiar hits of their early MTV, platinum-s (more…)
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Over a remarkable 30 years, Aerosmith has delivered near-perfect hybrids of rock and balladry, converting generations of listeners into devout fanatics. O, Yeah! Ultimate Aerosmith Hits drives chronologically through 30 of their best songs, providing a tour of the construction process. And what a process! Listen to “Mama Kin” and you might not recognize Aerosmith at all–here is a young Tyler, before finding his distinctive gritty wail, fronting a simple blues-bar band. But the phe (more…)
Queen brought a whole new meaning to the phrase over the top. While rock & roll flamboyance stretched back at least as far as Little Richard, Freddie Mercury continued to camp it up, taking little seriously and smirking at the music’s growing pretensions while partaking in them no small bit. Many of the band’s singles hold up extremely well, later tracks such as “Hammer to Fall” as much as prime-era numbers such as “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Killer Queen,” and “You’r (more…)
What once seemed Queen’s greatest liabilities–a preening flamboyance and pompous, overwrought theatricality–have ironically become their most enduring charms in a gray, postmodern pop-music landscape. While it eschews the glammy, pre-punk hard rock of live faves like “Stone Cold Crazy” and “Tie Your Mother Down” for the band’s more quirky club-beat string of latter-day hits, this 51-track triple-CD anthology goes a long way toward documenting the true dimensions of the band’s mus (more…)
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What Highway to Hell has that Back in Black doesn’t is Bon Scott, AC/DC’s original lead singer who died just months after this album was released. Scott had a rusty, raspy, scream of a voice, like he might break into a coughing fit at any moment. In other words, on crunchy, hook-heavy metal classics like the title track, and on “Get It Hot” which is more roadhouse rock than metal, he had the perfect instrument for such wild-living anthems. Too perfect, it turned (more…)
If time is the true test, then Guns N’ Roses’ Greatest Hits confirms that they really were one of the greatest rock & roll bands in the world. While, in retrospect, fellow graduates of the class of 1987 are about as cool as poodle perms and spandex, the L.A. bad boys still rock like gods. Listening to the sun-drenched chords of “Paradise City” and the ensuing stadium-sized swagger is enough to make wearing leather trousers and bandanas seem like a good idea. Of course, it helped th (more…)
To have resisted Def Leppard’s radio power in their heyday, you’d have to have been a critic–and even some of us could hardly argue with the likes of “Photograph,” “Animal,” and “Bringin’ on the Heartbreak.” Vault covers a decade and a half of hits by the one-time wonder boys of the new wave of British metal, but perhaps inevitably concentrates on singles from the multiplatinum Pyromania and Hysteria. It offers little meaning beyond fun fun fun, but there are hooks here that Noel (more…)
Most critics complain Back in Black, the album AC/DC recorded after the death of their original lead screamer Bon Scott, is ridiculously juvenile, obvious, snickering, bludgeoning, derivative, single-minded about sex and booze, a big cartoon. All true, of course, and–on rock ‘n’ ragers like “What Do You Do For Money Honey,” “You Shook Me All Night Long,” and the title track–all great. As Scott’s replacement Brian Johnson reminds us, loud and crunchy, no-holds- (more…)
Nickelback have established themselves as one of the biggest rock bands in the world. With over 26 million albums sold worldwide they have made their mark in rock and roll history. Their new album, ‘Dark Horse’, is one of the most anticipated releases this year. The band brought in legendary producer Mutt Lange to produce the record with Nickelback and longtime collaborator Joey Moi.