Good to Be Bad
- Hard Rock
- Buy the CD
Reviewed by R. David Smola
Like the 2008 Detroit Tigers, this seemed like a winner on paper; but the execution, the end product, falls short. This album is not as disappointing as the Tigers (who at the time of this writing sit double-digit games out of first place), but it doesn’t live up to what it should have been, either. Joining Mr. Snake (Coverdale) is an impressive roster of players: guitarist Doug Aldrich (Lion, Dio), guitarist Reb Beach (Winger, Dokken, Night Ranger), bassist Uriah Duffy (Travers/Appice), keyboardist Timothy Drury (Don Henley, Stevie Nicks) on keys, and drummer Chris Frazier (Steve Vai). Beach and Aldrich are excellent players with an established body of work, and the others are no slouches, and the songs like “All for Love” and “Best Years” have moments, but as a whole, they’re generic hard rock songs, long on the riffs and short on the hooks.
This is a muscular version of the band. It is a heavy record with a small element of the bluesy style from the past and several nods to Deep Purple, like “Can You Hear the Wind Blow” and “All for Love” – but for the most part, nothing jumps out of the speakers. There is nothing here that stands with their best work. Ten of the 11 tracks clock in at over five minutes, giving the guitarists plenty of time to noodle away. The guitar playing is excellent, but the songs as a whole zip in and out of the ear without leaving the need to listen again. “Summer Rain,” a power ballad, is the best track on the record, featuring layered harmonies by Coverdale and some restrained but effective guitar soloing. Longtime fans will enjoy the record, but breaking into a new audience won’t be accomplished here. If this is the last Whitesnake record, it would be disappointing, because this lineup is capable of much, much more. It ain’t bad, but neither is cotton candy – and I never, ever have a taste for that.