Album review: Rock and Roll is Black and Blue by Danko Jones
Posted on November 20, 2012
'Rock and Roll is Black and Blue'
Released: Oct 09, 2012
1Terrified 2Get Up 3Legs 4Just a Beautiful Day 5I Don't Care 6You Wear Me Down 7Type of Girl 8Always Away 9Conceited
10 Don't Do This
11 The Masochist
12 I Believed In God
13 I Believed In God (Reprise)
14 In Your Arms
The title of the new Danko Jones CD honestly suggests what lies ahead. This is an hour or so of relentlessly heavy industrial rock that bruises more than entertains. It creates the same mood as a leaden gray-white sky in the upper Midwest in late February, and carries the weight of a typical eastern European menu. It’s a musical palette with black and a few darker shades of gray.
This is not to say “Black and Blue” is all bad – there’s rapid fire drumming throughout, some great bass lines and generally some of the tightest synch between instruments that you’re likely to hear. So if you’re already a fan of Danko Jones, you’ll find “Black and Blue” to be true to their past work and you’ll probably like the new CD. But for those new to Danko Jones, I’d recommend listening to some cuts online before plunking down your hard earned cash on this CD.
Only four songs left me wanting to hear them again. “Terrified” opens the CD with machine gun drumming and a nice driving lead solo. “Legs” is a humorous ode to the power of ladies’ long legs on guys with a one track mind. It plods a bit but features a hook destined to be an audience sing-along: “La la…la la…la la… legs!” “You Wear Me Down” has a Zeppelin-ish bass line with strong lead guitar that creates a mood and is my favorite song on the CD. “I Believed in God” closes the CD with a gospel intro that morphs into a nice hard driving tune with a very memorable hook – all about the impact of seeing a particular lady.
The rest of the songs blur together. While the pace varies a bit, there’s no relief from the ‘heavy’, and the sheer weight works against “Just a Beautiful Day” and “Always Away” - both songs that attempt to convey some kind of emotion other than anger. “Type of Girl” actually tries to add a pop song flavor and has some nice lead guitar. But even with good instrumental s here and there, none of these songs sound like they really belong in industrial rock.
“Conceited” has a good bass line but an odd break in the middle that makes it feels unfinished. “I Believed in God Reprise” is a few measures of organ music that’s nice enough, but entirely out of place. “Get Up” and “Don’t Do This” are forgettable variants of other songs on the CD, but still better than the relentlessly atonal “The Masochist”, my least favorite song on the CD. “I Don’t Care” is the best of this group, with aggressive everything: in-your-face lyrics, guitars and drums.
Overall, this is not what you’d call family friendly rock. With unrelenting heaviness, a lack of rhythm variation, Rock and Roll is Black and Blue defines the part of heavy metal that is hyper-stimulated head banger music. The synch of instruments is impressive, esp. at what is usually a frenetic pace. But the vocals, although strong are not particularly good, and lead guitar breaks are fairly limited, possibly by the lack of melody more than by a lack of skill. While this CD has a few songs of interest, for the most part it belongs on the list of things cited in the lyrics of “I Don’t Care”.
For more on Danko Jones please visit:
Click the album cover to check out Rock and Roll is Black and Blue on iTunes.
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