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ZZ Top are one of the longest running bands still going, They've released fifteen studio albums spanning a wide range of styles. Their wikipedia page shows the following genres Blues rock, boogie rock, hard rock, Southern rock, electric blues. But they've also experimented with an Electro sound in the 80s which is the style which is covered on the album "Afterburner". It followed on from the similar style of their previous release which was "Eliminator".
Afterburner is the ninth studio album from ZZ Top. It was released on 28th October 1985 and was another successful release for the band. The album was produced by Bill Ham and spans Music from the following styles. Hard rock, electronic rock & blues rock. "Afterburner" produced several hit singles. The most successful single released from this album was "Sleeping Bag but there were other successful singles with The song "Can't Stop Rockin'" featuring in the 1993 film Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III.
1.) Sleeping Bag
This is a catchy opener which uses catchy drum beats and melodic synthesizer to create a decent sound. Along with the drums there's use of a drum machine and that works well alongside the guitar hooks and melodies. There are some excellent guitar licks throughout. The early scenes in the video inspired the video to the Foo Fighters' "Everlong".
This was the second single from the album, It's Another catchy track which benefits from the use of a synthesizer which blends in with the bass hooks and drums. The vocals are well performed and I like the way the vocals sound together. There's an excellent guitar solo towards the end which really tops things off well. This track, like many on the album has a catchy flow to it and has a toe tapping feel.
3.) Woke Up With Wood
This track uses a euphemism which many will know and the men reading this will know just how this feels. The track has some catchy melodies and excellent guitar riffs keeping to the style of the album with synthesizers and drum machines. It's a good track.
4.) Rough Boy
This is a lovely chilled moment on the album, It's beat is gentle and simple as is the keyboard tone but they both add to the appeal of this great track. Gibbons vocals are tender and emotive here and the track moves along particularly well. The guitar sound is excellent and when the guitar solo comes in half way through the song it completes things wonderfully well. This is the longest track on the album at just under 5 minutes and in my opinion it's the best track on the album. It was the third single on the album.
5 Can't Stop Rockin'
Back to the Rock out tracks here with a fast paced toe tapper. The vocals are loud and proud and the melodies are ultra sharp. The drums crash in at a fast pace and the guitar hooks and catchy and lead superbly well into the guitar solo which takes the song to another level altogether. Some of the riffs on this track are superb.
6.) Planet Of Women
This is another full on rock out moment on the album. It's again extremely catchy with some excellent riffs and the drums crash in time with the guitar and bass hooks. The vocals are melodic and combine well with the music. There's an excellent guitar solo towards the end that tops things off well. This is another strong up tempo track on the album. Good stuff.
7.) I Got The Message
This is a catchy slice of electronic rock which again uses a synthesizer and drum machine. It's sound is slightly different than the previous track which uses the synthesizer and drum machine but the song keeps the same feel as those other tracks. The vocals are strong and the guitar work is too. This track showcases the guitar talent of Billy Gibbons to good effect.
8.) Velcro Fly
The song "Velcro Fly" was an element in Stephen King's The Dark Tower III: The Waste Lands; Eddie keeps hearing drums playing off in the distance and thinks it sounds like, then later realizes it is, the drum track for "Velcro Fly". It's a decent track which has thumping drums and catchy synthesizers with some excellent guitar work topping things off. This track was touted as one of the best on the album and I'd agree with that.
9.) Dipping Low (In The Lap Of Luxury)
Another catchy track here. This keeps along the lines of the previous tracks on the album with a sound that has catchy guitar riffs, Decent keys and synthesizer and melodic vocals. I like the way that this track builds and the guitar solo tops the track off well. This is another strong track on the album. Good stuff.
This is a catchy riff laden Hard rock track with some loud rocking vocals and catchy guitar riffs and licks aplenty. This ends the album well with a sound that typifies much of the album. It's got some excellent guitar work towards the end and the music works well together to create a fine sound. The guitar solo is the best bit about the song though as it bends and winds it's way through the final parts of the song.
This is a strong album from ZZ Top. It's not amongst their best work but it is still a strong album that showcases the range of their music and also their talent as musicians. There are some great tracks on here but I'd have to pick the slower "Rough Boy" as the best track on the album. It's just a lovely change of pace compared to the others and the solo tops things off wonderfully. This is a worthy album in their back catalogue and a must listen for any ZZ Top fan.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Sleeping Bag
3 Woke Up With Wood
4 Rough Boy
5 Can't Stop Rockin'
6 Planet Of Women
7 I Got The Message
8 Velcro Fly
9 Dipping Low (In The Lap Of Luxury)