After several exceptional (but commercially underappreciated) classic albums, X decided to change their approach on the fifth album, 1985's Ain't Love Grand! The most noticeable difference is in the production. Renown heavy metal producer Michael Wagener came on board (his credits included Mötley Crüe, Dokken, and Great White), replacing longtime X ally Ray Manzarek. As usual, the songwriting and performances shine, but the raw sound of their earlier work is noticeably absent -- instead of changing his approach for X, Wagener produced them as he would a metal band of the '80s, smoothing out the rough edges. Still, the band scored perhaps their biggest radio and MTV hit ever with "Burning House of Love," and they composed other highlights like "What's Wrong with Me" and "My Soul Cries Your Name" (plus a cover of Small Faces' "All or Nothing.") Ain't Love Grand! would also mark guitarist Billy Zoom's last album with X, retiring from the music biz entirely until a brief X reunion in the late '90s. Not exactly on par with the classics Under the Big Black Sun and More Fun in the New World, Ain't Love Grand! still manages to offer a few X standards.
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AllMusic Review by Greg Prato