After Eric Clapton and Rod Stewart scored notable success with recordings from their MTV Unplugged appearances, it was inevitable that other groups around the world would get in on the sudden popularity of acoustic recordings. However, this move is not quite as calculated as it may seem for Golden Earring: by the time they recorded this album, they had been doing acoustic-only performances for a few years. As a result, The Complete Naked Truth doesn't have the first-take sound common to many of the Unplugged albums. Instead, the group's sounds tight and confident as they enthusiastically plow through a variety of numbers that cover the last three decades of their recorded output. The group wisely includes a number of songs that had a strong acoustic orientation in the original versions: the two best examples are "Jangalene," a rave-up that has the crowd clapping along, and "Mad Love's Comin'," a taut acoustic blues tune whose expansive length allows Hay and Kooymans to work in plenty of flamenco-inspired guitar shadings to the song. The group also puts some of their warhorses through the acoustic mill to surprising effect: "Vanilla Queen" becomes a surprisingly lovely acoustic ballad when stripped of its prog rock theatrics and "Radar Love" loses none of its energy or forward thrust when recast in an unplugged style. Some of the tunes don't always work in this format ("Twilight Zone" meanders and loses a good deal of its energy when stripped of electric guitars), but The Complete Naked Truth remains an entertaining release and a great showcase for Golden Earring's formidable chops. Collector's note: The Complete Naked Truth differs from the standard version of this album by throwing an extra disc with another half hour's worth of songs. None of the choices seem revelatory, but Golden Earring fans will definitely appreciate their presence.
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AllMusic Review by Donald A. Guarisco
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2