Album Reviews Martin's Album Reviews

Albums are rated very subjectively and from 1 to 5 stars; where * is worst and ***** is best. Use the index below to jump to the individual reviews, select the review title to return back to the index.

  • Def Leppard: Slang (1996, Mercury) **
    I had a feeling I wouldn't like this one any better than "Adrenalize" yet I had to buy it out of curiosity. This is from someone who was first introduced to Def Leppard by the track "Answer To The Master" and who considers "Pyromania" one of his all time favorite albums. "Slang" tries to be too hip and trendy, a reincarnated band that directs its talents to fit the current market after suffering casualties (does Motley Crue come to mind?). Do I hear an attempt at an industrial sound while remaining smooth, safe and boring enough for mainstream radio? This constant layer of synthesized background tracks and the abundance of lame ballads just annoy me. While "Slang" might be the logical successor to "Adrenalize", Def Leppard has skyrocketed before both albums and lost direction on the way down.
    Best track: "Deliver Me".

  • Reviewed June 21, 1996

  • Ramones: Greatest Hits Live (1996, Radioactive Records) **** 1/2
    The only hang-up I have with this album is that the Ramones called it quits, for good, forever, no doubt and now we see another album after all. Assuming that the record company has been pushing for it, who gives a damn, this live album (recorded at a New York City hometown gig) kicks ass, 1-2-3 all the way! It compares more to the spark and energy of "It's Alive" than "Loco Live" (that's good) but it adds more recent tracks along with the classics, which I find very refreshing and exciting. The album starts out with the "Durango" intro and among other tracks rips through "Sedated", "Rockaway Beach" and "53rd & 3rd" as well as "Cretin Family", "Strength to Endure" and "Pet Semetary". It all captures the essence of their 95/96 tour well.
    The album contains two studio bonus tracks, "R.A.M.O.N.E.S.", a cover of Motorhead's tribute song to the band, and the Dave Clark tune "Any Way You Want It" (which can also be found on KISS Alive II), both very entertaining though maybe not the most creative choices.
    Best track: "Any Way You Want It".

  • Reviewed July 9, 1996

  • Webb Wilder: Acres Of Suede (1996, Watermelon Records) *** 1/2
    I had great expectations for Webb Wilder's long-awaited follow-up album to 1991's "Doo Dad" (the 1995 release "Town & Country" was all cover songs), after all I consider "Doo Dad" to be his best album to date. Was it going to get even better?
    When I finally had "Acres of Suede" in my CD player I was disappointed. None of the tunes stood out like almost all the Doo Dad jewels do: instantly recognizable, catchy, rocking. Only after listening to "Acres..." several times and at volume it started growing on me and I found myself playing tracks such as "No great shakes" and "Soul mate" over and over.
    Yes, that roots feel is still there but it's gotten a bit thinner, softer - more country. That is what it comes down to. It's too country! It's still all Webb but his size 13A country foot must have stepped on his size 13A rock'n'roll foot and hurt the big toe. I guess you can't really blame him but I always dug the concept of a rock genre with just a hint of country (country rock, cowpunk) much more than country music itself and I always saw Webb primarily as a rock'n'roller with country and blues influences. I still think that Webb is hilarious and continues to be an electrifying artist. Maybe it's just his natural progression or him trying to find his market. "Acres..." overall is one of these cases where I listen to something because of the artist more than the music. The drop-outs aside, it's still a strong recording.
    Best track: "Soul Mate".

  • Reviewed July 9, 1996
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Last updated October 23, 1996 by Martin Mathis, e-mail