If any single song sums up Status Quo in the hearts and the minds of the millions, it's "Down Down." Other songs may have been bigger, others may have more resonance, and some ("Rocking All Over the World " comes to mind) may be so permanently ingrained that it's hard to remember that Status Quo cut anything else. But, if you want to nail the very essence of Status Quo, only "Down Down" will do. It was their first British number one and their first all-time classic. And it was also their first grinning, winking acknowledgement that not only was there a formula to the records they made, but they were not afraid to list its ingredients. "Down Down" is the perfect Status Quo record, and the fact that it doesn't arrive until six songs into the band's eighth album just proves how much fun it had coming up with it. On the Level is Quo at its single-minded best. It doesn't matter whether its driving the boogie through your skull with the relentless precision of "Little Lady" and "Over and Done," lurching loosely around the ghosts of blues and ballads ("Most of the Time" and a positively maniacal finale of "Bye Bye Johnny"), or even glancing back to their days as one of British psych's finest pop bands ("What to Do"). Still, all roads lead back to "Down Down," a dynamic riff, a perplexing lyric, and a mood that's so compulsive that you'll still be shaking your head in time long after all your hair's fallen out. And, just to make it even better, the album version's almost two minutes longer than the familiar hit, littered with false starts, fake endings, and one of the cruelest fade-outs in recorded history. It comes just as you're really getting into the groove.
AllMusic Review by Dave Thompson