Slade

Rogues Gallery

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Thanks to a pair of Quiet Riot cover versions of early Slade songs, Slade was brought to the attention of a new generation of hard rock fans, who turned around and made their first album in ten years a fair-sized hit. Aiming to capitalize on their resurgence, the boys went back into the studio to record the follow-up, Rogues Gallery, even going so far as to give opening track, "Hey Ho Wish You Well," the same galloping beat and Celtic string work that made "Run Runaway" such a great comeback. Unfortunately for everyone (most notably the band), the decision was made to lay on a whole pile of keyboards this time out, perhaps trying to tap into the success Van Halen had achieved with breakthrough album 1984; the end result was an album that was far less endearing than Keep Your Hands Off My Power Supply. In fact, some of the songs are downright embarrassing, like "Walking on Water Running on Alcohol," which marries a "Be My Baby"-style big beat to Van Halen keyboards and then adds a melodramatic but ultimately sad-sack set of lyrics. Far worse is first single, "7 Year Bitch," which could have been a thoughtful look at someone who's attracted to younger women, but which kills off any chance of moral high ground with the question "...can you control the bitch?" (whether the question was asked in persona or not). Given the title of the album, perhaps such sentiments shouldn't be all that surprising, but it has to be said that the rogues' gallery concept probably would have been a lot more convincing if the music had been stripped of the keyboards and overly slick production and given more of a rock & roll edge. That edge doesn't really emerge until the track "Lock Up Your Daughters," tellingly a track that the band pulled out of the vaults.

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