MR. BIG - The Stories We Could Tell (Pre-View)

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Friday, September 19, 2014
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UPDATED: 4 or 5 listens in now and the album continues to grow and the tempo lifts as the melodies come to life. Some really good songs on here as usual.
 
 
Mr. Big, are back with their new album "The Stories We Could Tell". The band's eighth studio album is slated for release on September 19th in Europe and September 23rd in North America via Frontiers Music Srl. 
 
Eric Martin says of the new Mr. Big: "This is the album that we threatened to make decades ago. A classic, grooving, blues-rock record with the spirit and spark of our rock and soul idols from the 70s..."
I gave Mr. Big's "What If..." 100%, so there's a lot of expectation here.
 
It always awesome to hear these guys play. The collective talent is unbelievable and Eric Martin has been a favourite of mine since the mid-80s.
 
This is a different sounding record from the outset. It’s big, loud, live and very retro 70s in places and very bluesy also. It will take a little time to get used to it.
Not an instant record by any means, but it rocks. Makes delivering a first impression harder to do accurately.
 
But after two full listens through at ear piercing volume – here’s my thoughts:
 
 
Track 1: Gotta Love The Ride - Bombastic intro, bluesy edge for sure. It’s a mid-up tempo rocker.
Different sound for the band here. Production definitely different than “What If”. Groove based rocker, nice guitar solo. Restrained chorus that gets better each listen. A cool track!
 
Track 2: I Forget To Breathe - Another up-tempo blues based rocker with a big groove. Billy's bass not nearly as prominent in mix as last album. Another pretty simple chorus....but it rocks and I like it. I'm hearing some "Get Over It" here. Great guitar solo.
 
Track 3: Fragile Thought it might have been a ballad at first, but bluesy 70s guitar kicks in and the tempo lifts. I like it a lot. A real Mr. Big sounding track. Fragile has the same type of vibe as "Undertow". A more familiar Mr. Big style bridge-to-chorus melody and a nice melodic vocal here. Best track of the first 3. A commercial single feel.
 
Track 4: Satisfied - Back to the 70s blues rock again. I'm a 80s guy, so not sure about this. Another pretty straight forward uptempo bluesy rocker. Satisfied has a one line, very melodic vocal bridge that hints at a big chorus, but it doesn't arrive. More straight forward groove based.
 
Track 5: The Man Who Has Everything - Its ballad time. This is a familiar MB acoustic driven ballad. Still carrying that 70s feel though. Big soulful vocal by Eric Martin - another possible single here I'd expect. Some orchestral backing also.
 
A big Billy bass flurry kicks off Track 6: The Monster In Me. Still got that bluesy 70s sound going. Mid-tempo, but heavy...Big guitar and bass tracks. Very different sounding record this so far. Unlike any Mr. Big album prior. Raw, live feel and very groove driven.
 
Track 7: What If I Were New - now the band is sounding like The Stones. Mmmm... Different approach with choruses this album too. Big harmonies here and a nice feel good chorus. Perfect Mr. Big style. Interesting chorus. Wouldn't call it catchy, but it's original and the choppy Paul Gilbert guitar work is cool. Big attitude.
 
Track 8: East/West - acoustic intro and first 30 seconds before band comes to life. Acoustic base, but electric also. A feel good song this and an early favourite.
 
Track 9: The Light Of Day - big groove, big guitars and bass, fast moving vocal, Eric in fine voice as ever.
 
Track 10: Just Let Your Heart Decide - ballad time again. Deep sultry vocal from Eric. VERY good chorus. Just like "What If", the second big ballad on the album is the better one. No Mr. Big fan is going to dislike this one.
 
Track 11: It's Always About That Girl - this is another mi-tempo 70s groover. Not as into this as earlier tracks.
 
Track 12: Cinderella Smile - Another slow/mid-tempo groove based track. Sorry, think I'm going to have to say I'm not into this one. Simple chorus, stop/start slow groove. Not my fav style. A bit of a jammer.
 
Last track! Track 13: The Stories We Could Tell - yep, another slow-mid-tempo 70s groover.
Interesting track, but not the most instant or catchy tune out there and similar to a couple of others on the album.
Good chorus, some nice bass fills from Billy and more classy playing from Paul.
 
 
 
It's a big, groovy, rocking album, but not the chorus heavy style of Mr. Big's most commercial tracks.
13 tracks, 2 ballads, a couple of traditional melodic “Mr. Big style” tunes and a whole stack of bluesy rockers with a retro vibe.
 
Not an instant album, but I’ve hit play straight away and are already through my second listen. Some more aspects definitely jumped out second time around.
 
The guy’s rock and the performances are there. Big love to the as yet unmentioned Pat Torpey who thumps away with his usual authority.
 
Be prepared for a different sound and a more retro groove based style.
 
I think this sounds like another great Mr. Big album, but it's going to have to appeal to people's individual tastes a little more than past albums.
 
 
 
The Japanese Special Edition release (cover pictured above) features a second audio disc and a DVD "making of".
 
The audio CD contains 10 tracks re-recorded by the band for this occasion.
Those tracks are:
 
01. To Be With You
02. Daddy, Brother, Lover, Little Boy (Electric Drill Song)
03. Green Tinted Sixties Mind
04. Take Cover
05. Just Take My Heart
06. Colorado Bulldog
07. Addicted To That Rush
08. The Whole World's Gonna Know
09. Rock & Roll Over
10. Out Of The Underground
 
 
 
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