David Lee Roth

Skyscraper

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AllMusic Review by

Even as Skyscraper shot up the charts behind the momentum of its ultra-saccharine lead-off single "Just Like Paradise," it was abundantly clear to anyone paying attention that the wheels were already falling off the David Lee Roth bandwagon. Simply put, the collaborative spirit that had given their manic debut Eat 'Em and Smile such legitimacy as a band project was collapsing under the unbearable strain of its leader's unstoppable ego. With bass wizard Billy Sheehan already gone to form Mr. Big and guitar hero Steve Vai mostly flying on auto-pilot (if spectacularly so), keyboard player Brett Tuggle seems like the most unwelcome presence on an album that squanders much of its free-wheeling potential by trying too hard to achieve an exaggerated pop sheen. The aforementioned "Just Like Paradise" is the obvious main offender, but promising examples of arena rock like "Stand Up" and "Perfect Timing" also lose much of their bite through excessive studio tampering. Likewise, the largely acoustic "Damn Good" and the overlong "Two Fools a Minute" (an unconvincing ode to Roth's lounge lizard persona) go nowhere fast, and what the band was trying to achieve with the bizarre title track is still anyone's guess. And while rockers like "Knucklebones" and "The Bottom Line" don't really impress or offend, "Hina" and "Hot Dog and a Shake" are the album's only two clear standouts. The first's soothing, interweaving guitar harmonies presaged Vai's Joe Satriani-inspired solo work while the latter finally explodes in the over-the-top fashion of the first album, largely thanks to a Vai solo so fast, so hot not even he could keep up, momentarily losing his fingering in the album's only spontaneous moment.

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