About two hours after I had decided to review "Animals with human intelligence" as this month's classic I got a message from a friend saying that guitarist Derek Frigo had died. It was a freaky and chilling feeling and sadly this later turned out to be true. Anyway, this will not be a mourning session, rather a celebration of one of the finest guitarists to ever grace the earth and his last album with Enuff Z'nuff
. Derek Frigo was beside Chip & Donnie a great part of the band's sound until this point in their career. His energized solos and inventive playing gave the music a spontaneous feel that is often missed on later EZN albums. He was one of those few guitarist that had that special touch where you can tell who it is just by hearing him play. Derek, I hail you whereever you are! Rest in peace...
After the Strength opus, Animals... is a slightly bumpier road. Some songs equal anything that was on Strength and a few even go beyond, but the album also has a couple that are on my least favorite Z'nuff song list. The band still has that nerve and edge in their songwriting that sets them apart from other bands. Their ability to marry Metal, Rock & Pop into something unique is ever present. The order of the day is super catchy Hard Rock which is sometimes thoughtful, sometimes fun, sometimes sad, always memorable.
Even though Vikki Foxx has vanished from the cover photo he is still the one playing the drums on the album.
The ferocious Superstitious
opens the disc and it's a cool guitar based song that shows the heavier side of the band. The more melodic Black Rain
has a slight psychedelic feel, due to the vocal harmonies and the rythm that slowly creeps up on you. Great performance by Donnie on this one.
Right by your side
is a favorite of many fans including me. It is one of those perfect catchy songs that Enuff Z'nuff
are so good at doing. Donnie's gentle voice lets the song soar above the ground and the guitar riffs keeps it floating. A song that doesn't grow old or fade with time. I have sung this one far too many times into a phone to the amusement or horror of many friends and the unfortunate parent who picked up the phone.
The party vibe gets turned up with These daze
. A hugely catchy and well performed track that I again find it impossible not to sing along with. The guitar has a cool drive to it that is essential for a song of this type. It is classy song with a hint of yearning for the good old days.
Master of pain
was my least favorite of the album for a long time. Mostly because of it's frankly boring chorus. The good things about the song are the splendid guitar work and its extreme heaviness, definitely one of the heaviest songs Enuff Z'nuff
have ever put down on album. I also love the tone in Donnie's voice when he sings the line "Get set for misery"
. Too bad the song fades out just when Derek starts shredding.
is close to perfection. The piano is beautifully used and the song never becomes sentimental. A song Donnie wrote to his younger sisters about growing up and it is a timeless classic. Both sad, hopeful and life affirming with an incredible amount of emotion.
Like These Daze the hard-rocking One step closer to you
has a fantastic drive and I find it impossible not to start a sing along. A knockout song with an indescribable energy.
Bring it on home
is a little let down by its unvaried chorus but nonetheless it is a great song. This is also the song that was supposed to be in my fave movie, Jerry Maguire, but mysteriously disappeared. It is a hard hitting song both musically and lyrically and if you've just been left or betrayed by your girlfriend then this may not be the best way to get over her. But still, good for a little self-pity.
Takin' a ride
is the ultimate psychedelic Enuff Z'nuff
song. With a definite smoking feeling along with a Beatles touch I get the perfect picture of Chip, Donnie & John Lennon sitting somewhere getting high and playing this song. Frigo's solo here is perfectly tuned to the oozing atmosphere.
is the all out party song of the album. A simple and nice song that doesn't quite hold my interest in the long run. A good song, but nothing more.
Mary Anne lost her baby
is the album's finest moment. A completely moving and rocking song that gets under your skin and stays there. With a sincere message it shows the band taking a step away from he usual love, party & heartbreak lyrics and tackle a difficult subject without becoming tacky. An incredibly smooth song that is over way too soon. Searching for rock perfection? This is as close as you get.
Closing the original release is Rock n world
. Like Love Train I would describe this song as good and nothing more. The simple chorus lets the song down and I miss a special touch. Donnie's opening scream is cool though and live this song erm... rocks!
The Spitfire re-release I have also has Fingertips
as a bonus track. If you haven't heard this song then it is worth tracking down. It is a beautiful ballad that has everything it needs. Comparing the Spitfire re-release to the original Arista release there are some weird differences in the sound. Fx. on the re-release the beginning of Innocene
has a distincly bad sound and I would highly recommend the original Arista release over the Spitfire re-release, which also has a different front cover.
Animals... was the third Enuff Z'nuff
album, the last on a major label and from then the band took a downward plummet in every way other than musically. Today the music still endures and this is a fine testament to the strength of the band. It is still one of the most varied Enuff Z'nuff
albums and I'm sure that long-time fans as well as new ones will find something to love within its deep ocean of music.
So take one step closer and jump aboard the magical mystery train that is Enuff Z'nuff
. It might just take you to a new world.
Written by Steen
Thursday, June 3, 2004Show all reviews by SteenRatingsSteen: 8/10
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