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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Music Review: Mr. Big - "What If..."

What if … a band I never liked got back together?

What if… the band recorded a new album of all new material?

What if… it was great?

Well, it's 2011 and the 80's band Mr. Big is back with a brand new CD called, you guessed it… "What If…"

It's been 10 years since their last release, "Actual Size," and 15 years since their last album with original guitarist Paul Gilbert. Now, as I stated earlier, I was never a Mr. Big fan. I knew the band was made up of stellar musicians -- most notably Billy Sheehan who is undoubtedly one of the most famous bass players in rock and roll. I also knew that they were a tough band to pigeon hole into one specific category. They're actually a little bit of everything: hard, pop metal and glam!

I never thought they were bad, just not my cup of tea. That is until now because "What If…" is one of the best rock CDs I've heard in a while. The first single, "Undertow," is a fierce rocker (yes I said "fierce") about a young woman's drug addiction. Sure that's not new territory in rock but the lyrics here are strong and to the point. Plus, the chorus just soars.

Next up is "American Beauty," with an intro and feel that is reminiscent of Van Halen's "Hot For Teacher." This song just grooves along and is the perfect song to drum away to on your steering wheel. I'll go one step further and say that the whole CD is packed with the kind of music Eddie Van Halen & company wish they were making in 2011.

If you only know Mr. Big from their #1 hit single "To Be With You" be advised that there is nothing like that on "What If…" There is a great ballad called "All The Way Up" but it is not even close to the pop rock sound of 1991's "To Be With You" and "Just Take My Heart."

"What If…" is hands down the most consistent rock CD I've heard in a long time and it will probably remain in constant "car rotation" for months to come. If you're a Mr. Big fan you are no doubt in heaven right now and for you this CD is probably a "10!" For the rest of you (and me) give it a listen and you will be on your way to full "Mr. Big Conversion."

Drumroll please… 8 out of 10 drumsticks!

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