The Thrill of It All

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How fast things change in rock & roll. In the span of just a few years during the early '90s, Thunder went from favored saviors of British hard rock thanks to their triumphant 1990 debut, Backstreet Symphony, to strife-ridden not-quite-stars when 1992's strong follow-up, Laughing on Judgement Day, almost saw guitarist Luke Morley joining a then still relevant Whitesnake, to borderline untouchables thanks to the advent of grunge and a bitter, disillusioned third album in 1995's Behind Closed Doors. So, come 1996 and their fourth album, The Thrill of It All, two details were evident: first, that Thunder was never going to become the next Whitesnake or Def Leppard (not that they'd want to, by that stage) and, second, that the only way for their fortunes was up, even if their latest material showed only marginal improvement over their latest effort. Nevertheless, ensconced among the mindless drivel ("Don't Wait Up," "Hotter Than the Sun") and the insipidly frivolous ("Welcome to the Party," "Cosmetic Punk") governing these sessions, one will find occasionally memorable efforts such as first single "Pilot of My Dreams," with its Eastern-flavored solo, "Love Worth Dying For," with its "Ten Years Gone"-styled opening guitar figure, and "Something About You," with its forlorn Boston-isms. Classic rock galore, in other words, and, although its immaculate production and meticulous songcraft helped make it a huge smash in Japan, The Thrill of It All sounds unbearably safe by today's standards, a relic of a far more commercial era in rock history and, therefore, really not very thrilling at all.

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