Michael Sweet - I’m Not Your Suicide

Michael Sweet I’m Not Your Suicide
Michael Sweet
I’m Not Your Suicide
Big 3 Records
2014
7
Michael Sweet returns once more, with yet another solo album and gosh, isn’t this guy, busy... with multiple Stryper projects, just recently completed and behind him for the time being, he also found time to do an autobiography and also record a solo album and he’s also involved in a supergroup as well with a host of some other well-known musicians for “Frontiers” stable... jees.
 
The sixth or seventh (?) (because there’s an EP I guess) solo release by Sweet, is coming out at the same time as his autobiography “Honestly” that recently got him in a small war of words with the guys from Motley Crue... regarding who’s book was more truthful... (hehe) and contains some 13 songs. It’s obviously not as heavy as what he does in Stryper and mostly it centers itself around Sweet’s glorious voice, with simpler soft or occasionally hard rock arrangements with a rather modern flavor that the glossy production makes even more impressive and poptastic.
 
The opening track “Taking on the World Tonight” sees Sweet sharing vocals with none other than equally charismatic ex-TNT frontman Tony Harnell and predictably, is full of some pretty impressive deliveries in the vocal department and one of the more rocking tunes to be found on the album, but still it leaves a bit to be desired. Still since this is a “solo” affair and not a Stryper album, it’s only fair to expect, just slight elements of the songwriting and not full on metal tunes, so in more than one ways it more than accomplishes its “mission”.
 
“All That’s Left (For Me to Prove)” is a medium tempo tune with a quite heavy riff and a serious enough tone, that could best be described as a modern rocker. It’s got a rather melodic bridge/chorus and it easily becomes endearing to the listener. It’s solo, is another high point, not extremely lengthy or overtly intricate it’s quite smart and effortless.
 
“The Cause”, is a somewhat more symphonic, yet slightly more “gospely” at times tune, with a thick backing multi tracked vocal that appears to be female (but could have been multiple harmonized/transposed Sweet’s as well for all I know) that’s also quite nice, all around.
 
“This Time” (feat. Kevin Max of Christian Pop band dc Talk) is a pop rock diamond, in a style, that is fitting the style of the album perfectly, very much in tune with 80s power pop but with vocals that are really great. Both vocalists are great with Sweet possibly being a little better/stronger, but the best moment is when they harmonize together. It’s really magical.
 
“I’m Not Your Suicide” (co-written with Blair Daly) is a really amazing song, that borders between a simple pop-rock number, just like “This Time”, but in the verses but as soon as it bridges into the chorus, and climaxes it becomes quite epic and really flairs into a bit of an anthem. Sweet strikes quite a chord with this one and offers a really sensational performance with this one...
 
Coming Home” is managing to do, what those sappy country flavored Bon Jovi ballads, that J has been pumping out lately, fail to do, and that is convey emotion, mainly because, Sweet is such a better singer and ultimately because the song is heartfelt. It’s not really “country”, it’s more like an acoustic number with too many “folk/rootsy” elements and really amazing vocals.
 
“Miles Away” is a modern styled ballad, which shows Sweet’s desire to experiment, both in the style and instrumentation and it’s not bad at all, but maybe could have been a little more traditional in places.
 
“Strong” is a ballad, in a traditional sense, with big vocals and just a few modern elements in the production department, just to find out, how they’d work out, I suppose... they work out kind of OK I guess.
 
Now “How to Live” (feat. Robert Sweet & Timothy Gaines of Stryper) is a 100 % stringed ballad, in the classic, acoustic sense of the word, no experimentations and no effort needed to fake pure emotion, because there’s tons of it here. It’s a fantastic tune!
 
“Heart of Gold” is a really cool cover on Neil Young’s track (but then again there’s another version of it, but the album one is the better one!). Great solo in this one, by the way.
 
“Anybody Else” (feat. Chris Jericho, yeah the Fozzy wrestler dude & Doug Aldrich) has a nice riff, no surprise there… but Jericho, ain’t really no – Sweet, he ain’t completely shit, or maybe he’s getting some “help” in places, cause in places we can hear – dual vocal, and I can bet my posterior, that it ain’t Jericho on both vocals. Decent rocker, but not much more... mainly due to the average singing, but also the insipid, plainly uninspired chorus.
 
“Unsuspecting” somehow feels a little bizarrely placed towards the end of the album, actually being the last proper song on the album, as it’s a high octane number with Sweet actually “belting it out” in praise of the lord in a way that is a little too reminiscent of a cross between Stryper and bad Grim Reaper.
 
“Heart of Gold” (feat. Electra Mustaine) is a bonus track in I suppose some limited edition or sth, but even if it was never existed, I don’t think many would have cared. After nepotistically placing his daughter in Megadeth videos, now she also seem to be popping up on TV shows and here, on other artists albums. Her vocals are not necessarily too bad, at least for as long as she duets with Sweet, but it’s not really the best singing ever heard... I wonder, is she here, because she’s talented, or because of her daddy’s surname? It just feels a little out of place this “hillbilly/redneck” version of the song.
 
All in all, a really good effort from the Stryper frontman at a time when he seems to have his hand in many projects, managing to do rather impressively well in all. What he might just want to do however is relax a bit in order to avoid saturating the market, with products that have his involvement, while solo and Stryper and “project albums” and books are different when they all come a few months apart from each other, they might just be a bit too much, if they are not timed well apart.