Now Playing – Home and Work playlists

As some of you know, I was a third shifter for ten years so I was able to get in at least seven hours of music while I worked. The change this past October from the overnight shift (12-8am) to the 6pm-2am shift has taken it’s toll on the work playlists. I don’t work with a skeleton crew anymore, I actually have to manage my workers now and that means no CDs or MP3 players until midnight. When I went in at 6pm Monday evening, I had no idea I would be staying until 4am but that gave me four hours of pure music:

KISS – Crazy Nights (1987) – I’m preparing for my March Metal review but I’m a huge KISS fan and this is one of those albums I have an emotional attachment to. I’ll save the review for March 26th.

UFO – Essential UFO (1992) – Another one of my favorite bands and a great compilation of UFO featuring Michael Schenker on guitar.

Dio – Dream Evil (1987) – Another prep listen for my March Metal Madness review slated for this coming Monday.

Wig Wam – Wigwamania (2006) – Take 1986 and apply it to Hard Rock in 2006. Wig Wam has made a gem of an album that the Poisons, Bon Jovis, and Def Leppards of the world wish they could make. Why does a relatively new band get such critical acclaim by going ’80s retro and the old bands receive a ton of criticism for going “current”? Odd, isn’t it? This album is just full of hooks.

To round out the remainder of the shift, I hit “shuffle all tracks” on my Dell DJ and I heard songs by Tygers Of Pan Tang, Savatage, Kidd Wikkid, Krokus, Alice Cooper, more KISS, and Alcatrazz.

I got home at 4:30, and got three hours of sleep before it was time to get up with my youngest daughter and the dog. After we got home from the record store (another post later), I was able to give the Winger album a few more spins, and I was able to listen to Black Stone Cherry – s/t (2006), Tankard – The Beauty And The Beer (2006), and the new Shaw/Blades – Influence (2007).

Nothing like a day of music…..

Winger – IV (2006)

Winger IV

Winger – IV (2006, Froniters/Shrapnel)

  1. Right Up Ahead
  2. Blue Suede Shoes
  3. Four Leaf Clover
  4. M16
  5. Your Great Escape
  6. Disappear
  7. On A Day Like Today
  8. Livin’ Just To Die
  9. Short Flight To Mexico
  10. Generica
  11. Can’t Take It Back

Winger lineup 2006

Band Lineup:
Kip Winger – Vocals, Bass, Keyboards
Reb Beach – Guitars, Vocals
Rod Morgenstein – Drums
John Roth – Guitars, Vocals
Cenk Eroglu – Keyboards, Guitars

Total Time – 49:57

Winger official website
Kip Winger official website

Winger was a band I got into when I was in high school. It wasn’t called “hair metal” at the time but that was the kind of music that was prominent in my circle of friends back in the day. For all the backlash the band has received from the Beavis & Butthead generation, pound for pound Winger could hold their own with any of their contemporaries in the late ’80s. Big guitars, big hooks, harmonies, melody…..they defined the sound. Sure the band was considered bubblegum for the serious Metalhead but the music was fun, that’s what it was all about.  I freely admit to liking all three Winger albums, especially PULL (1993), usually that admission is shunned. That said, I was really looking forward to hearing what WINGER IV had to offer longtime fans. Kip Winger’s solo career hasn’t grabbed hold of me like the early Winger records did. I did see him open up for someone in the last few years (Poison maybe?) and he came out and did a short acoustic set that was pretty damn good. Add Reb Beach and Rod Morgenstein and there was serious hope for a good Rock record.

The opening song, ‘Right Up Ahead’ is a slow, melodic track that starts of with the acoustic guitar and heads into a heavy riff. It has the elements of classic Winger, especially in the harmonies, and it is a good song. It’s not what I would have picked for an album opener, I would have gone with something faster/catchier. ‘Blue Suede Shoes’ follows and is another slow track, more of a ballad. It’s got that haunting feel with the enhancements on Kip’s vocal and the underlying acoustic guitar. I have tried to like this song because I like the music but the lyrics and the title distract me. 

If you can get through the first two songs, ‘Four Leaf Clover’ is a welcomed uptempo number but it sounds more like Kip Winger solo rather than Winger. By this time I’ve noticed that Kip’s voice may have lost that high upper register he used to have or that he just isn’t using it. This sounds like something I would hear from a young band today and played to death on radio. It’s actually kind of boring but it gets a pass because it’s uptempo. Boring is ‘M16′, another slower song. Kip uses some of that high voice come harmony time and the guitars have some bite but it sounds like it’s already been done and we are only on Song #4. ‘Your Great Escape’ is the song I would have used as the album opener. It’s a faster number that compares to the Winger of old while keeping up with current trends. The vocal isn’t the best but the guitar, especially the solo, is really good. This is my favorite song on the album.

I really like the bass line on ‘Disappear’, I find myself nodding along and doing some air bass. Another mid-tempo, dark, melodic brooder with killer axework. Nothing like a six minute plus song to kill the mood…..that’s what ‘On A Day Like Today’ does. It’s not a bad song, it’s just slower and boring. It sounds like I’ve already heard it four or five songs ago. Redemption comes with the harder ‘Living Just To Die’, which shows that there is some life left in the band to Rock out. The trend continues with ‘Short Flight To Mexico’, another heavy track that is buried behind all the slow plodders. I would have put this more toward the beginning of the album’s sequence.

Another six minute plus song in ‘Generica’…..when will the madness end? This song just doesn’t cut it for me. Neither does ‘Can’t Take It Back’. Both songs have some good parts but they are a part of the “slow or mid-tempo” theme of the record. Both sound like previous songs on the album.

Bottom Line:
I went into this album not expecting the old late ’80s sound but hoping it would be there. There are elements of it sprinkled throughout but it’s more a dark, melodic, modern Rock record. I would have preferred a few more upbeat songs instead of all the slow ones. The album is hard to get through, I found I was losing interest easily and I had to go back and force myself to re-listen to songs that didn’t really grab me. I gave this album a lot of airtime on the stereo hoping that it was a grower but it just left me bored. I won’t be reaching for this again anytime soon.