Thursday, April 21, 2011

Rhea's Defective Internal Jukebox: Mr. Big, "Undertow"

You know what’s worse than the tripe Rhea usually ends up in her defective internal jukebox?  When she manages to mine some particularly devious strain of poodle-metal schlock so catchy that even I have to begrudgingly give it props.  To wit, the following:

Christ, I have always hated this fucking band.  “To Be with You” was one of the most annoyingly limp hit ballads from an era that ended up drowning in them; a song so pathetic that it made Nelson look like a band overstocked in testosterone by comparison.  Is it fair to judge the entire work of a band on one song?  Generally speaking I’d say no, but when the song is that bad it’s time for an exception to be made.

Flash to earlier this year: I saw a new album by these doofuses posted to Demonoid…um, I mean, up on the wall of my local record store which certainly has not gone out of business or anything, and acquired it.  I figured we’d both laugh at it and move on, but this “Undertow” song, the first on the album, has been stuck in my head ever since.  I’ve never pretended that I’m not a sucker for the occasional bit of well-executed arena-rock empty calories, and I’ll be damned if this one track isn’t a nearly-perfect example of just that.  As rousing, post-Journey butt-rock goes, this is as good as it gets, all the more astounding given that it was created a good two decades after the genre’s peak.

Sadly, if you’re anything like me, the rest of the album is dreck: under-hooked Bon Jovi-style twaddle occasionally and brutally interrupted by incongruous Dream Theater-esque wank-o-rama.  Rhea, I’m sure, would disagree, but then again what fun would this be if she didn’t?

Still, Mr. Big deserves this much credit: after twenty-five or so years at it, they have finally come up with 4:50 of music that is absolutely shuffle-worthy.  Bravo, I guess.

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