This album is INCREDIBLE!
I’m reluctant to write about it. Because of the influx of hate I’m gonna get from people who think Nickelback is meritless and are still laughing at Creed. You see this is not that different from those bands. But Lynyrd Skynyrd was not that different from the Allman Brothers, they too, like Marshall Tucker, could be dismissed as southern rock…but they were so much more than that!
You see that’s the political game, working the refs. To the point where Democrats are gun-shy and won’t say anything negative about Republicans without criticizing Dems too…otherwise there’s a tsunami of abuse.
And I’m gonna get abused here too. By the art rockers, the musos, the people who believe if it’s successful, if it sounds like anything else, if it’s solidly in the pocket of a genre, it must be crap.
But if you’re not one of those people. If you like rock music. If you like power chords, dynamics, changes… If you like nodding your head, putting on an album and letting it play from beginning to end, putting you in a mood wherein the rest of the world does not matter, THIS IS FOR YOU!
The fact that this album has had zero impact flummoxes me.
Then again, it’s Christian music.
Not that you’d know that if I didn’t tell you.
Christian music is usually bad rock and roll from ten years past, the same way country music is seventies California classic rock. But this is something more, it’s not so self-congratulatory, not so solidly other that we mainstreamers can’t pay attention.
I’m not ashamed of being part of the mainstream. I’m not ashamed of saying I like what many other people do. I don’t get my jollies by putting down other people’s taste just because what they like is popular. And this is mainstream music. Just like Nickelback is mainstream music. And they’re bigger than just about everybody else.
Not that I’m endorsing Nickelback, but they’re getting the last laugh, and if you don’t think “How You Remind Me” is a phenomenal record I hope you’re not planning to be an A&R person, I hope you’re not planning to be involved in any role where picking music is crucial.
Unfortunately, Nickelback has not been as good since. I’ve been disappointed by their new music, but I am not disappointed by Rhett Walker. How did people this far off the radar make something this good?
I would have completely missed it if Al Kooper hadn’t put Mr. Walker and his band as the number one pick in his playlist last week. I got it instantly.
Now if Atlantic were smart. If Universal Republic still had its chops. One of them would immediately make a deal for this album and run it up the charts. This is exactly what the audience is looking for, they just haven’t heard it yet.
Rock music has lost the plot. It’s either so hard, so metal, that most people aren’t interested, or it’s so soft, so indie, peopled with bad voices and weak production that other than fans, everybody laughs. There’s a reason Bon Jovi is so big.
And that comes down to “Slippery When Wet,” which is fantastic.
But that album had cowrites with Desmond Child and was produced by Bruce Fairbairn, absolute blue chips. Whereas you won’t recognize a single person involved in the production of “Come To The River.” Take a look:
There’s not a loser on this album. I’m not exactly sure where to tell you to start. Maybe with the track Al picked out, “Get Up Get Out.” This is what Al said:
“Well, this is loud enough to rattle the dishes and get your attention and that makes a good opener. Rhett WAS a wild man, but switched to Christian music (!). Listen as I may, I can’t REALLY find any of THAT in this track. This just simply ROCKS! No bible necessary.”
Or maybe begin with the opening cut, “Gonna Be Alright.”
Sure, it’s got the blasting guitars, but when it breaks down and the band starts singing “whoa-oh-oh, whoa-oh-oh, it’s gonna be all right,” you’re gonna look at your computer monitor in shock, you’re gonna throw your arms in the air and sway back and forth like you’re at the gig. These are the moments we’re searching for. When we’re completely gripped by the music and taken away, possessed.
And listen to Rhett’s vocal. Boy, this guy can SING!
I didn’t have to play this album five times to get it. I didn’t have to tap my foot, waiting to be hooked. I was enthralled IMMEDIATELY!
Now I have no idea if they’re any good live. I know that it takes forever to make it these days. And unless you’ve got a certified Top Forty smash, your climb to the top doesn’t spike like a hockey stick.
But I do know that the great unwashed, working day jobs, getting high, just looking for a little satisfaction, would gravitate to this. Would play it at parties. Go to see the band live. Play it in their pickup trucks, their minivans, on their boomboxes down by the river…
Can the music live up to the hype I’ve just given it?
Check it out.
If you’re all about fashion, if you revere Anna Wintour and David Byrne and Beck, you can pass.
But if you live in your jeans and believe “Back In Black” is one of the best albums ever made…YOU’RE GONNA BE IN HEAVEN!