Monday, August 15, 2011

Classic melodic rock CD of the week

By Stephen Kasenda

MR. BIG “Lean Into It” (1991)

What makes this record personally memorable to me is that this is the first rock tape I bought along with Scorpions' "Crazy World" back in 1992. I bought it solely because of the mega-hit "To Be With You" that had been heavily played on TV and radio. My first impression is that I'm quite shocked to listen to tracks like "Daddy Brother" or "Alive And Kickin'" - very loud and noisy! There's something great about this album that makes me want to play that tape over and over again until it’s worn out. I was twelve back then and here I am playing this disc again 20 years later in my car this morning, and it's still as great as ever as it was in 1992.

"Daddy, Brother, Lover, Little Boy" is an explosive opening with Paul Gilbert ripping his guitars with an electric drill, the technique he had started using back in his days with Racer X (which was also later applied by Eddie Van Halen in “Poundcake”). "Alive And Kickin" has a punchy chorus and Eric Martin sounds awesome here, one of my fave singers with many capabilities. The commercial hard rock of "Green Tinted Sixties Mind" blasts in with the quick-tapping that young guitarists always want to learn to play. "Lucky This Time" is a blissful midtempo ballad, a great track on par with the other hits, "Just Take My Heart" and "To Be With You". Those last two are timeless classics, songs that I still like to strum on my acoustic in the living room.

The other tracks are also very strong, such as "Voodoo Kiss" with an infectious guitar lick and that 70s Aerosmith boogie; "My Kinda Woman" is a song that Tesla should have recorded in 1987; the lazy bluesy "A Little Too Loose"; and the groovy "Road To Ruin". Perhaps only "Never Say Never" is the weakest but that track alone still good enough to compete with the other average band's strongest track.

Putting aside the priceless nostalgic value, "Lean Into It" definitely has the power to stand the test of time and to claim the status of best album Mr. Big ever made. The virtuosity of each member is undefeatable, the songwriting is top notch, every little thing about this album is perfect. A true five stars!

Read more of Stephen’s features at MetalMusicArchives.

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