Slash Rocks Axl’s Socks Off!

Music Reviews 2010 – Slash

Slash’s solo album, released in Early April, flat-out rocks! Enough so, that we can now appreciate why Axl Rose took 15 years to finish Guns N’ Roses’ – Chinese Democracy–he was lost without Slash.  Slash’s first solo record clearly demonstrates his technical skills and savvy.  This album effectively “rocks Axl’s socks off”—and it will your’s too if you give it a spin!

For this new, solo CD, Slash assembled 13 vocalists to wail, growl, croon, howl and otherwise sing the 15 songs (of the i-Tunes Bonus Version).  The vocalists include Fergie, Ozzy, Chris Cornell, Kid Rock, Adam Levine (of Maroon 5), Myles Kennedy (of Alter Bridge–the post-Creed band without Scott Stapp), Iggy Pop, and more.  And while this strategy will be a nightmare for touring and showcasing the album….it was brilliant in terms of studio/record results.  Every song works; and how many new albums can you say that about?

Slash shreds, the vocalists “kill” and the whole is fantastic–easily better than the sum of it’s parts.  Each vocalist brings their own sound to it and I’m very pleasantly surprised that the songs I like most are often from the vocalists I know the least. As an example, I’m a huge Chris Cornell fan (with Soundgarden, Audioslave credentials) and his song is at the bottom of my favorites from the album.

Ozzy hasn’t sounded like he was meant for a song like this since “Crazy Train.”  Adam Levine’s song, “Gotten” is my personal favorite though. It’s mellow, emotive, and for me, better than Maroon 5’s best.

And Fergie’s song rocks!  “Beautiful-Dangerous” shows us a side of her not often seen with the Black-Eyed Peas.   She’s surprisingly credible belting out the  sultry “beautiful-dangerous” chorus.

The bonus song, “Mother Maria” (with vocalist Beth Hart-whom I’m unfamiliar with) sounds like it could be a Crystal Bowersox original.  A little Janis-esque, upon hearing it, my hopes for Crystal’s post-Idol prospects went up a notch. This is the kind of music she should make.  Beth Hart deserves her own “shout out” here too—she sounds incredible paired up with Slash.

Slash has long had a reputation for holding his own and staying grounded within a chaos and drama construct. Working for years with Axl and Scott Weiland clearly must have driven his sense of purpose and direction, with him just awaiting his turn at calling all the shots. This solo record stands as manifest evidence of his technical savvy and single-minded sense of direction. Working with pros, hand-picked for songs seemingly written for them to sing, is a brilliant strategy.   Carlos Santana has mastered this tenet.  And Slash took it to another level.

All told, my Top Hat’s off to Slash.  Brilliant effort! Crank it up!  JDPF

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