232: Apocalyptic Love

Told ya I was still trying to figure out Myles' and Wade's skin colors, didn't I?  Technically, I think all the panels are true here.  A heated topic that always comes up about Slash is whether he's overrated or not.  He is without a doubt the most famous guitarist alive today, but most famous doesn't technically mean the most skilled.  I'll admit, he is a bit overrated - he's not the best guitarist in the world, but he is still, without a doubt, my favorite guitarist of all time, and I think he deserves every bit of fame that he's earned.  His new album, Apocalyptic Love, was officially released today.  Here's one of my favorite songs from the album called "Halo," and then there's also another song on the MUSIC page.  I'm actually still waiting for my copy to be mailed to me, but in the meantime I've been listening to the album streaming this whole last week.  It is fucking awesome, and I've written a full review of it below.  You ready?  Here we go.

I freaking love this album.  There are some generic parts to it, a few songs that are nothing innovative, but overall it was even better than I had anticipated.  When the single "You're A Lie" was released a few months ago, I felt like it lacked the luster of Slash's first solo album.  It was a very good song, but rather unimpressive compared to his past material.  Luckily, "You're A Lie" is by no means the best song on the album (there are many that completely blow it out of the water), but the album has a few shortcomings that are similar to how I felt about the song.  A third of the album, maybe a little more, is fairly generic.  The songs are hard, and awesome, and well-written, but they just don't have those factors that make them noticeably "Slash".  They sound like they could be anybody, really.  Also, most of the guiar solos on the album are nothing too special.  Once again, they are all still awesome, but definitely don't live up to the high standard that Slash has placed for himself.  Slash's solos are known for being some of the best and most memorable in history, and that's because he would always take the time to write the perfect solo to fit each song.  But these solos don't sound like he spent any time writing them, they sound more like he was just winging it.  Obviously Slash winging it is better than most people winging it, but I would still say this album has his worst solos to date.  Those mild shortcomings are the only reason why Apocalyptic Love won't be getting a perfect score, because for every other reason it should.

Now for the great things about it.  While a few songs do sound kinda generic, ALL of the songs are totally badass, several are pretty innovative themselves, and a few will be remembered as absolute classics.  When you think about Slash's greatest guitar songs, you think about iconic, legendary riffs.  Riffs that make the songs instantly recognizable, and instantly great.  Well, I am very happy to announce that there are several songs on this album that have these kinds of riffs, songs that would have undoubtedly gone down as masterpieces back in the day.  People looking for those iconic Slash moments will find several of them on this album (not everywhere, but still enough places).  Myles Kennedy's voice shines through as well, and even outshines the guitar playing on a few very impressively sung songs.  He varies his voice and vocal patterns quite a bit over the album, so you'll get a quick, slurry, punky Myles on one song, and then a clean, beautiful Myles on another, which I found fascinating and utterly enjoyable.  The styles of the songs vary enough, as well.  They all fall under the category of "hard rock", meaning there's no metal, no pop, etc, but there's enough variety of hard rock styles that it still feels like a full, eclectic album.  And looking at the album as a whole, I'd say that it's almost flawless as a collective of music, the best you're likely to hear in a long time.

So, to sum up:  the best songs on the album are absolutely amazing, and make me drool like an idiot from sheer happiness every time I hear them.  Meanwhile, the worst songs on the album are still better than a lot of what you'll hear out there these days.  Weighing the many pluses against the several minuses, I am left giving Apocalyptic Love a score of 9/10.  My original score had been an 8/10 for the generic parts, but the more I listened to those parts, the more I realized how amazing they are regardless of originality.

You know, looking back I've noticed that the majority of the albums I review (besides this one) end up getting scores of around 6 or 7 or 8.  This wasn't really on purpose - I listen to plenty of albums that would only get 3's or 4's, but those are never the albums that I feel like reviewing.  It makes me a little worried that these scores will lose meaning.  "If everything is an 8, what's so special about an 8?" sort of thing.  The best I can do is just to tell you guys that every time I give something a score above a 5, it means that I think it's above average, and each number higher is one step closer to a perfect album.

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