When guitarist Paul Gilbert exited Mr. Big in 1997, fans wondered if the technically high-skilled pop-metal band was over. But instead of calling it a day, Mr. Big enlisted brief Poison member Richie Kotzen to take the place of Gilbert, and issued a pair of albums -- 2000's Get Over It and what turned out to be their final release, 2001's Actual Size. Despite numerous musical styles coming and going since their self-titled debut arrived in 1989, Mr. Big admirably stood their ground stylistically, as Actual Size manages to retain their early arena rock sound while also fitting in with modern-day mainstream rock. This approach is best sampled on such tracks as "Shine" (which was supposedly a hit in the land where Mr. Big continue to reign supreme -- Japan) and the album opener, "Lost in America." And it just wouldn't be a Mr. Big album without a power ballad, and here it comes in the form of "Nothing Like It in the World" -- a track that seems custom-made for either Meat Loaf or Michael Bolton. As evidenced by Actual Size, Mr. Big stuck to their guns till the very end.
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AllMusic Review by Greg Prato