Richie Sambora - Aftermath of the Lowdown

Richie Sambora
Aftermath of the Lowdown
Aggresive Music/Wea
2012
7.5
Average: 8.6 (96 votes)
Richie Sambora, the well-known Bon Jovi, guitarist, after taking a break to get rehabilitated, seems to be back in the saddle and in a great shape too. With a new BJ album in the works and various other projects ongoing, Sambora, has decided it might be the right time to drop a third solo album this September some fourteen years after his last, solo endeavor. The damn thing leaked, a bit too early, but I guess, longtime fans – are the ones who’re gonna be getting it anyway, no matter what.
 
But let’s see what BJ’s partner in crime and quite unsung hero, brings to the table this time!
 
The album begins with an absolutely amazing and energetic tune “Burn The Candle Down” which is a very raw, jam like composition, with multi-tracked vocals, that however sound weird, because of the effect, used. I’m guessing, that unless this was done, completely live (which it sounds as if it might have been) and then processed, this might have been even better, with a more classic and not so modern production on vox.
 
Righ on next, comes a sexy little rocking ballad/song of longing, called “Every Road Leads Home To You”. It’s a very sincere and instantly likable song, that would fit like a glove in a BJ album. Richie’s vocals are in good shape and a little lead, he lets rip, works wonders too. AMAZING ! The mastering "done" on the leaked, tracks, has made the sound “bigger”, but has “stolen” a bit of the vocal’s spontaneity... still WHAT A ROCKIN’ TUNE!
 
“Taking a Chance on The Wind” has a more southern/country touch but also very strong pop sensibilities. None of the two trends dominates the song, which allows it to bloom, into a fantastic lead and then to come to a beautiful full-fledged conclusion.
 
Nowadays” is another “raw” and possibly live recorded song as well. It’s an up-tempo rocker, with an interesting and slightly beatlesque vibe and an uplifting if not a little too simple chorus.
 
“Weathering The Storm” is a bluesy song that builds up nicely and explodes, with a beautiful, urgent and anthemic chorus.
 
“Sugar Daddy” is a little quirkier, more modern, grittier, grungier and them vocals come quite heavily processed, there are lots of na-na-na-na’s and a very cabaret like, sleazy atmosphere, but somehow, the song ain’t bad!
 
“I’ll Always Walk Beside You” is a very temperate and beautiful ballad, only Richie and an acoustic and minimal percussion for the most part really and it’s beautiful. The song picks up the pace, sometime around the middle and even has some electricity, during the build to its celebratory conclusion. This one, could have been a huge, BJ power ballad, with the proper orchestration and Jon’s vocals over it.
 
For “Seven Years Gone”, Richie opts for a deeper, but stronger vocal, tone. It starts as another “wounded” ballad but it’s also very powerful and in your face at the same time. Then around the third minute it totally, takes an inexplicable guitar hero direction then it mellows and then it fizzles out, with more beautiful guitars… but while I like almost every part of the song, I do have to say I’m quite puzzled about how the whole thing evolves past the third minute. I’m pretty sure I’d enjoy it more, had it been a little differently arranged/edited.
 
“Learning How to Fly (Broken Wing)” is another up-tempo rocker, that wouldn’t feel out of place in a Springsteen album, complete with a passionately sung chorus and great guitar lines.
 
“Forgiveness Street” is a very delicate, “wounded” blues-tinged ballad, with big slide melodies and an underlying sense of greatness. There’s some really nice guitar work here, but it’s mixed, comparatively low, to allow the vocals to shine. Great song though!
 
“You Can Only Get So High” is a bit of a personal apology from Richie, possibly addressed to himself and the things/people that matter to him. It starts with only a piano and vocals, to later become, fully orchestrated. It’s sincere and really heartwarming, to hear the lyrics and ponder their meaning. Bravo.
 
“World” is a really, bizarre semi-acoustic piece, that “borrows” a rather large and central piece of its melody line, by Phantom’s “Think of Me”, which is a little odd, but still, it’s a nice “adaption”, with its “universal” poignant message ‘n all! It’s also the song that “closes” the curtain, on this album - at least it’s “normal” editions.
 
“Backseat Driver” is a jivin’ lil tune, in the vein of up-tempo ELO, that appears to be some sort of bonus. (Japanese or Online, i have no clue ! Supposedly there's another bonus tune, exclusive to some other format !
 
All in all, Richie, returns with a pretty good bunch of solo material, almost fifteen years after his last solo outing. I may have a couple of objections about the track listing or about some songs, not sounding on the same level, from an aural standpoint, as others, but those are minor complaints really, when the material is so good and so sincere. Coming out on a small indie label, instead of some big multinational, I’m pretty curious on how this album will fare commercially. Although the Bon Jovi, affiliation is sure, to prove a major boon, in trying to promote this album.
 
At any rate. Mr. Sambora, that stranger, with the undiscovered soul, is back and it’s rather good, to know that there’s a whole lotta soul, to be discovered yet…  

PS: The fullpriced, cardboard cases w/o plastic trays look CHEAP/CRAP this is no exception an I will be calling artists/companies that release them up, from now on.  

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