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"Rock 'n' Roll" is the 8th studio album by British heavy metal band, Motörhead. It was released in 1987 on GWR Records and produced by the band with Guy Bidmead. The line-up for the album was Lemmy (vocals/bass), Phil Campbell (guitar), Würzel (guitar) and Phil Taylor (drums).
Just a year after the band released "Orgasmatron", "Rock 'n' Roll" hit the shelves of record stores with a deafening thud of heavy metal. "Rock 'n' Roll" reached No.34 in the UK album charts and the band only released one single from it which didn't chart - "Eat the Rich". Coming back to the Motörhead family was drummer, Phil 'Philthy Animal' Taylor, after a four year gap.
The album starts with the self-titled offering which begins with a Phil Taylor drum beat before the guitars join the party. It's a typically bouncy staple heavy metal song with a catchy chorus, but the guitar in the first solo just sounds off, almost like it's trying to be too clean but not reaching the heights it should. It's still a good song, though, and a promising start to the album.
"Eat the Rich" is the album's most famous song even though it's not meant to be taken too seriously. There's some good interchanges between the two guitarists here and it's always good to hear Campbell and Würzel playing so well together. The song is taken from the film of the same name in which Lemmy plays a part.
"Blackheart" is more like the Motörhead of old with Lemmy's signature vocals taking centre stage, but the chorus is just awful with presumably the two guitarists backing and singing 'blackheart' somewhat out of tune. I do like the bass line on this song and the solos are diverse but enough to keep you interested.
"Stone Deaf in the U.S.A." is a song about Lemmy's love for the United States. It's about the sights he sees, the motorcycles, the women and all the cities the band would play in on a typical Motörhead tour. It's a great rock and roll song that you'd be hard pressed not to want to bang your head to. Taylor's drumming is good but it's largely unheard because of a lack of production for the percussion section.
"The Wolf" begins with the howl of a wolf and some classic Phil Taylor double bass, a lot like what we've heard on "Overkill". It's not a favourite of mine but there is some hard and heavy bass playing on the song. The chorus, so to speak, isn't a chorus as such but has Lemmy shouting 'the wolf' which then reverberates into a fade out that just doesn't work for me.
"Traitor" is your typical good times rock and roll song which takes us back to medieval times with the narrator being the judge who sentences people to death. He's telling one unfortunate soul about his crimes and the punishment is to have his head cut off and placed on Traitor's Gate outside the Tower of London. The lyrics are good but it's a largely unmemorable song, musically.
"Dogs" begins with a funk-fused bass groove before the guitars join in unison. It's not a good song to be honest and I think Lemmy ran out of ideas for the album, writing and recording this song in no time at all. The lyrics are pretty poor and although Lemmy tries to deliver them as only he knows how, it just doesn't quite work.
"All For You" is more of a staple rock song than a 'Motörmetal' song, and there's a bit of harmony from Lemmy in the chorus which was largely unheard of in the band back in those days. I guess you could even call this a love song at a stretch, although Lemmy would probably disagree! If you like your music at a rocking tempo then this one is for you, but apart from the solo there's nothing to keep me coming back to it.
"Boogeyman" sounds a lot like "Shine" on the band's 1983 album, "Another Perfect Day", and I wonder if it's a coincidence that it was Phil Taylor's last album before returning to the band. Maybe not, but I seriously think Motörhead were fresh out of a plan at this stage of the album. It's not a bad song to be fair, but as I've said previously it's too much like an earlier Motörhead song.
In Summary, the album is hit and miss, and more miss than hit, unfortunately. The band's heyday had gone a few years ago and I think Lemmy was attempting to recapture some of the magic Motörhead once had but instead delivering an album which fails at getting to that point. There are some good songs on here, "Eat the Rich" is great and I do like "Stone Deaf in the U.S.A." but apart from those two there's not much else that screams out at me to play it. I can't really recommend you buy this album but I'm not going to say don't buy it either. Instead, I'll sit on the fence with this one and let you decide what to do.
1. Rock 'n' Roll
2. Eat the Rich
4. Stone Deaf in the U.S.A.
5. The Wolf
8. All For You
My rating: 5/10
Rock n Roll was Motorhead's 8th album and it came out in 1988, ten years after the band's inception. The album didn't too particularly that well commercially and while a few of the tracks sound similar in what is a typically fast-paced Motorhead trademark sound there are some absoulte corkers.
My personal favourite is the track"Eat the Rich" which was written to be used in the film of the same name, one I can't boast to have seen unfortunately. The track itself is a classic though, pounding it's way through the lyrics "Come on Baby, Eat the Rich, Put the bite on the son of a bitch" and entertaining food lyrics like
"Sitting here in the restaurant
Tell the waiter just what you want
Is that the meat you wanted to eat?
How would you ever know?
Hash browns and bacon strips
I like the way that you lick your lips
No foolin' I can see you droolin'
Feel the hunger grow"
which shouldn't work but does some how! Other good songs on this album is Stone Deaf in the USA and Blackheart, Michael Palin is featured in the former as he recites a sermon. Heavy metal artist Joe Petagno designed the cover and wanted the tongue to go up, the band wanted it to go down and Petagno has joked that this is the reason the CD did not sell as well as it could have!
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Rock 'N' Roll
2 Eat The Rich
4 Stone Deaf In The USA
5 Intro (Sermon) - Michael Palin
6 The Wolf
9 All For You
11 Cradle To The Grave
12 Just Cos' You Got The Powe