Friday, January 6, 2017

Throwback Thursday: Libertad, by Velvet Revolver

In 2007 we heard what at the time we didn't know would be the absolute final studio album from super group Velvet Revolver, which consisted of former Guns N' Roses members Slash on lead guitar, Duff McKagan on bass, and Matt Sorum on drums as well as rhythm guitarist Dave Kushner followed by former Stone Temple Pilots singer Scott Weiland. After an explosive debut album and tour in 2004, the band needed a strong follow-up for Contraband. The result: the more classic rock oriented Libertad.

While Contraband was a lot heavier than most people would expect out of the former GN'R crew, they seemed to get back to their roots a bit more on Libertad. You can sort of tell that they were trying to be a bit more diverse and creative than on the last record, which I get. As awesome as Contraband was they didn't want to just make the same record all over again. Unlike its predecessor which was pretty dark and heavy, this record breathes more. There is less radical shift in dynamics, but still has all the emotions. Soft in some place, grooving in some places, and kicking your ass in others.

The tune that EVERYONE knows Velvet Revolver for came from this record, which is She Builds Quick Machines. Over played though it might be, it's still an awesome tune. I love how it starts off with just the guitar riff sounding like it's coming through an old AM radio, but then when the whole band kicks in it just punches you right in the face. After that you're taken on one hell of a wild ride for the rest of the tune. There isn't a whole lot else to it, but it really doesn't need it. It's straight up rock n' roll and that's all it needs to be.

Personally, my favorite tune on this record is the cover of Electric Light Orchestra's Can't Get It Out of My Head. They gave it an amped up punchy plugged in sound without losing the emotion and tenderness of the original. I still don't understand how they managed to pull it off, but they did. You still get that same swelling warmth within your chest and that arm hair raising quality that any good ELO song gives you, but with VR's distinct flavor. They definitely made it their own here. Even made it just a tad more psychedelic which is actually kind of cool.

Libertad isn't the punch packing roller coaster ride that Contraband was, but it doesn't need to be. If you give it a fair shot you'll definitely find at least a few tunes on it you like. There are a wide variety of styles/genres on it. Heck, there is even a hidden bonus track on it that has a real Grateful Dead vibe to it that some of you might like. Regardless, this record was one hell of a way for the band to say goodbye even if they had no idea that it was going to be a farewell when writing and recording it.

Libertad, by Velvet Revolver receives 4 out of 5 stars.

Track List:

1. Let It Roll
2. She Mine
3. Get Out the Door
4. She Builds Quick Machines
5. The Last Fight
6. Pills, Demons, and Etc.
7. American Man
8. Mary Mary
9. Just Sixteen
10. Can't Get It Out of My Head
11. For a Brother
12. Spay
13. Gravedancer

Buy the album on Amazon:

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