“In Your Face” is a better album than the debut, but it didn’t do nowhere near the same business in sales. It gets me thinking how a lot of the bands who got platinum sales couldn’t back it up a few years later.
Maybe that whole payola deal the labels got done for, played a part in getting acts “fake” sales. Maybe it was too much Kingdom Come saturation (as this album came out a year after the debut) or the stupid interviews they did, denying they even knew who Led Zep was.
Those years of 1986 to 1989 are also those magical years of when hard rock and metal took over the mainstream, which all began in 1983.
The opening track “Do You Like It” is asking me if I like the fire of rock and roll burning out of control and I couldn’t get enough of it. So I went into the next track and “Who Do You Love” comes up next, a combination between Euro Pop and British Rock.
“The Wind” is a classic track, combining AC/DC (intro and chorus) with Led Zep (verses) and Lenny Wolf’s unique Euro pop sensibilities crossed with Robert Plant. And the wind was going to blow regardless if you wanted it too. And that place in time, the paradise you had is gone as quickly as it began, like the careers of many bands classed as “hair bands”.
“Gotta Go (Cant Wage A War)” talks about a red sky and the sound of guns bringing pain and bloody rain in a war a person is fighting in but they don’t know why.
“Highway 6” starts off as this country bluegrass twangy song, before it morphs into a fast rocker and for some reason I feel like I am listening to the Joe Lynn Turner version of Rainbow.
The lyric line “I lost a friend of mine who took the road, he felt the world had turned and left him cold” remains with me.
More so today than ever in the history of human existence, do people feel left out in the cold. They go to social media to see people enjoying what they don’t have and then they try to mimic that enjoyment themselves, all in a fools game to be like someone else.
“Perfect O” is pretty self-explanatory and “Just Like A Wild Rose” is all bluesy Led Zep in the verse, but when the Chorus kicks in, its brilliant.
And the lyric line of how the storm comes and goes slow, she will love him and go, just like a wild rose works.
“Overrated” sounds like it came from the pubs of Australia. “Mean Dirty Joe” has excellent music, an excellent vocal melody but terrible lyrics and a terrible title.
Finally the piece d resistance is “Stargazer” (I even did a whole blog post just on the song) and Lenny questioning, is there something more when it comes time to meet our maker.
“Big Game” from White Lion came out the same year, and it didn’t sell as much as “Pride” so the band went on the defensive and said that the label made them rush an album to capitalise on the success of “Pride”. To me, sales define if the album reached critical mass, however it doesn’t define the quality of the work.
While Kingdom Come sang about “Mean Dirty Joe” and a “Perfect O” in some songs, White Lion (and many say to their detriment) sang about Greenpeace, apartheid and domestic violence.
So “Big Game” is a big record with a big statement and it’s still relevant today than anything that appeared on “Pride” except for “When The Children Cry” and “Lady In The Valley”.
From the opening major key intro of “Goin Home Tonight” I felt part of the vinyl grooves. And “Dirty Woman” has music which is excellent, but the lyrics and the title let it down.
The piece d resistance in this case is “Little Fighter” and like the message in the song, every single soul who has been wronged, broken, abused or knocked down, has to rise again and show the world who they really are. If Mike Tramp never told anyone it was about the sinking of the “Rainbow Warrior” Greenpeace boat, it would have been the hit that made the album. And the message is still relevant today, but since we are surrounded by echo chambers, the rising up part is happening on all sides of left and right and centre whether you like it or not.
“Broken Home” doesn’t need explaining, except how good is the music from Bratta.
But like all 80’s hard rock acts, they kept on moving between subject matter about loneliness, broken homes, saving the planet to relationships and dirty women. And I struggled taking bands seriously when they moved between so many different topics lyrically. “Baby Be Mine” is a perfect example of great music, great guitar playing and terrible lyrics and a terrible title.
But when they go to “Living On The Edge” they nail it again. The lyrics resonate straight away. I had a pair of 501 blue jeans that had seen better days, and who didn’t want to pack their bags and ride into the sunset once upon a time. Then again, these days, kids want to live with their parents, and stay comfortable. And how many people graduated with degrees, but couldn’t get jobs for what they studied for.
“Hot For Teacher” got a re-write in “Let’s Get Crazy”. And I can live with this song and the lyrics, because it’s got a cool party vibe, a lot better than “Dirty Woman” and “Baby Be Mine”.
I can also live with “Don’t Say It’s Over” as a cool relationship gone sour song, and a guitar solo which needs to be heard. “If My Mind Is Evil” has one of my favourite riffs and vocal melodies to match, along with a guitar solo which is a song in its own right. But those lyrics are just dumb, dumb, dumb.
“Radar Love” as a White Lion song works perfectly and “Cry For Freedom” is brilliant and effective in its simplicity.
After the sales didn’t meet expectations, the band told the label to give them time and let them make the album they want. They did that with “Mane Attraction” and it didn’t even make a commercial dent, and the band splintered and when they walked away from each other, no one from the label called to see what happened.
So the message for the day, from Kingdom Come and White Lion is “Life is short, so keep getting back up when relationships go bad or the family dynamic breaks down and don’t let people get the better of you and take away the freedom you have. Always test yourself with new horizons because when it’s time to meet your maker, you are out of time”.