MR BIG – What If…

Mr Big - What If...Just a couple of years ago, a Mr Big reunion wasn’t anything you’d bet your well-earned cash on. Guitarist Paul Gilbert was the first one to jump the ship after four albums. He was replaced by Richie Kotzen, fresh out of Poison and they made two more albums before the band decided to call it quits. After that, the guys weren’t exactly on speaking terms and they said some harsh words about each other in the press. So when in 2009 when the word was out that the guys would reunite for a tour, a lot of people, including yours truly, were surprised, to put it mildly. At that point, there was no talk of a new studio album, but you don’t have to be Einstein to figure out that an album would appear at some point. When they revealed that that was the case, worries always appear, especially when it comes to reunited bands from way back, that they wouldn’t be able to present anything worthy. The band brought in hot-shot producer Kevin Shirley to oversee the recordings and the guy really is great with sounds.

But no matter how great the producer is, you won’t have a killer album without killer songs. And boy, do they have a lot of those here. This album really blew me away at first listen and then it kept growing on me. I’m gonna stick my neck out here and claim that this album is their best album to date. Even better than their classic debut album. It really has everything. The production is excellent, the music is melodic and catchy, yet it rocks all the way without any cheesiness what so ever, with both heaviness and speed. And the guys in the band are fabulous. Eric Martin still has a voice to die for, Paul Gilbert is a true guitar hero without overdoing it, Billy Sheehan is still one of the best bass players in the world and Pat Torpey is Mr Tight, while actually playing drums with a melody. First single ”Undertow” sounds like it could be off their debut, ”As Far As I Can See” is groovy, heavy and catchy, ”All The Way Up” is a great ballad in true Mr Big style and ”I Won’t Get In My Way”, ”Around The World”, ”I Get The Feeling” and ”Kill Me With A Kiss” are all true rockers, catchy as hell and all of them will go down well live without a doubt. This album is a must have for everyone who’s into melodic hard rock. If you don’t get this, you’ll be missing out.

Jon Wilmenius (8/10)

Track list:

1. Undertow
2. American Beauty
3. Stranger In My Life
4. Nobody Takes The Blame
5. Still Ain’t Enough For Me
6. Once Upon A Time
7. As Far As I Can See
8. All The Way Up
9. I Won’t Get In My Way
10. Around The World
11. I Get The Feeling
12. Unforgiven (European Bonus Track)
13. Kill Me With A Kiss (exclusive Bonus Track for Japan instead of “Unforgiven”)

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