Whitesnake – Good To Be Bad (2008)

Whitesnake – Good To Be Bad (2008, SPV)

  1. Best Years
  2. Can You Hear The Wind Blow
  3. Call On Me
  4. All I Want All I Need
  5. Good To Be
  6. All For Love
  7. Summer Rain
  8. Lay Down Your Love
  9. A Fool In Love
  10. Got What You Need
  11. ‘Til The End Of Time

Live Bonus Disc:

  1. Burn – Stormbringer
  2. Give Me All Your Love Tonight
  3. Walking In The Shadow….
  4. The Deeper The Love
  5. Ready & Willing
  6. Don’t Break My Heart Again
  7. Take Me With You
  8. Ready To Rock

Band Lineup:
David Coverdale – Vocals
Doug Aldrich – Guitars
Reb Beach – Guitars
Timothy Drury – Keyboards
Uriah Duffy – Bass
Chris Frazier – Drums

Produced by: David Coverdale, Doug Aldrich, Michael McIntyre

Total Time = 59:28 (1st disc), 42:25 (2nd disc)

Whitesnake official website
Whitesnake MySpace page

If you haven’t noticed, Whitesnake just released a new album, GOOD TO BE BAD. It’s hard not to notice with all the publicity on TV, radio, and the Internet for Whitesnake’s first proper studio albums in 11 years. For the last few years, David Coverdale and company have been touring the world and thrilling audiences with a supurb live show (I saw them with the Scorpions a few years ago) that was chronicled on the live album LIVE IN THE SHADOW OF THE BLUES (2006). Whitesnake fans were also given four new studio tracks on the live album but that was just a tease of things to come, now we have GOOD TO BE BAD. David Coverdale has employed some fine musicians for the new incarnation of Whitesnake: guitarists Doug Aldrich and Reb Beach are names synonymous with great talent and success while Timothy Drury, Uriah Duffy, and Chris Frazier add to the solid musician ship, making Team Whitesnake a sonic force once again.

Opening track ‘Best Years’ is a heavy mid-tempo rocker that recalls the blues laden style of past ‘Snake efforts. Aldrich and Beach immeadiately carve out their territory with dueling guitars and Drury laces the song with a subtle keyboard that enhances, not distracts. What is immeadiately noticeable is the bass and drums, Duffy and Frazier sound very heavy and provide solid muscle to the song. Over the whole album, the members of the rhythm section put on a tremendous effort. ‘Can You Hear The Wind Blow’ is another heavy mid-tempo Hard Rock song with a blazing main riff…..Aldrich completely shines and it’s no wonder he’s being credited with resurrecting Coverdale’s, and Ronnie James Dio’s, solo careers, this guy can flat out play! The only problem is that both songs are very similar except that the latter has a catchy chorus and hook leaning a bit more toward the SLIDE IT IN-era.

Speeding things up a bit is ‘Call On Me’ and David starts to use his higher vocal register. The song is still fat and heavy from the duelling guitars and has some great solos. I’m a little surprised this isn’t the opening song and lead single but I’ll bet it’s a song the band plays live. One thing Whitesnake has been well-known, and well-criticized, for is their ballads. Some of the biggest power ballads of the late ’80s were Whitesnake compositions: ‘Is This Love’ and ‘The Deeper The Love’ being chart toppers. ‘All I Want All I Need’ follows the grand tradition but sounds thicker, ballsier. Coverdale uses a low key, blues-tinged vocal then he did on his previous successes and soars a little higher only a few times, perhaps a sign of getting a bit older? ‘Good To Be’ is a stormer of a title track that reminds me of ‘Slow An’ Easy’. Of course it does! The lyrics “Sometimes it’s good to be bad, bad to the bone” is very similar and the basic premise is along the same lines, it’s almost like this song idea was recycled from 25 years ago.

‘All For Love’ is another candidate for a single and album opener with great guitars and a solid hook at the bridge. The twin axe attack of Aldrich and Beach really shines here as each trade solos within the song. Put this song on the ’87 record or SLIP OF THE TONGUE (1989) and you have an instant hit! I’m a little surprised to hear another ballad so quickly but ‘Summer Rain’ is a really nice departure from the typical ‘Snake ballad. The acoustics are mixed perfectly with the electrics while the keys provide another layer of sound without being overbearing.. Coverdale is using his low drawl well but he sounds scratchy in some parts, that’s where the backing vocals help at the chorus. I’ve been trying to figure out what this song sounds like for weeks and I finally found the answer: this is a Cinderella song. Seriously, I’m not joking, I could hear Tom Keifer singing this and the overall tone sounds like something off HEARTBREAK STATION. Call me crazy…..

Best song on the album is the actual lead single, ‘Lay Down Your Love’. Want to hear the Whitesnake of the late ’80s? This is the song. David suddenly finds that higher register and sounds great throughout, especially in the chorus. Very similar to ‘Still Of The Night’ especially when the guitars cut out for the vocals and pick back up with the bridge. There’s even a slower pace in the middle of the song around the solo, just like ‘Still Of The Night’, that picks back up again. It’s not a complete copycat, I actually like this song better because it has more of a groove. ‘A Fool In Love’ is an old school blues number that draws comparisons to old ‘Snake, Deep Purple, and Led Zeppelin until the chorus comes in and sounds like we’ve heard it all before. I like the solos over the main blues riff and DC starts to hit those highs towards the end but something about this song screams “been there, done that”. ‘Got What You Need’ is a fun speedy rocker but the lyrics are a bit juvenile, not necessarily a bad thing but the clichés kill it. The solos are really good just like the rest of the album and the vocals are higher giving the casual fans what they expect to hear. Ending the album is ballad #3, ‘Til The End Of Time’. The song has this Western/Bon Jovi – ‘Wanted Man’ vibe to it and it’s definitely a different style than I’m used to. The repeating lines of “I will love you” make me think of The Moody Blues’ ‘Nights In White Satin’ for some reason.

The second disc is a collection of live songs pulled from the last few tours and is a nice added bonus to the proper album. The highlight is the version of ‘Burn/Stormbringer’ for the fans of Coverdale’s days in Deep Purple. There is also a bonus video of ‘Ready To Rock’ attached as an extra bonus.

Bottom Line:
A rousing success! Whitesnake’s first album in over 11 years is a solid effort that can appeal to old school fans from the band’s early days and the MTV generation that grew up with the band’s mega-hits from ’87-’90. Most of the songs have a Blues base from the late ’70s/early ’80s with a leaning toward that late ’80s bombast that made the band a household name. Not sure why we needed three ballads on the album but each one is a different style so that helps keep it all fresh. Musicianship is top notch of course with Aldrich and Beach leading the charge with their guitars. Coverdale sounds like he’s lost a little in his vocal range, those higher notes aren’t as easy to hit, but he uses that deep mid-range drawl to give the songs a bit more balls and groove. Favorite songs here: ‘Lay Down Your Love’, ‘Summer Rain’, ‘Can You Hear The Wind Blow’, and ‘Best Years’…..I like the whole album with only a couple of songs being a little spotty. Definitely one of my favorite albums of the year so far.


9 comments on “Whitesnake – Good To Be Bad (2008)

  1. Bill – Just read your review, you’re right we agree. This album caught me the way last year’s Scorpions record got me. I wasn’t expecting much but I knew it had the potential to be the best. If I had to slot my Top 10 of the year so far, GOOD TO BE BAD would be at least Top 3!

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