Love Grenade

Ted Nugent

Eagle/Red, 2007

REVIEW BY: Benjamin Ray

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 09/04/2007

The advance praise for the Nuge's newest album was rather gushing, proclaiming him an American original and implying, in no uncertain terms, that he is just as vital and authoritative as ever.

And then the track list arrived -- and not only is there a remake of "Journey To The Center Of The Mind," Ted's first hit with the Amboy Dukes way back in the late 60s, but the song titles play like a bad Aerosmith/Kid Rock parody: to wit, "Funk U," "Still Raising Hell," "Love Grenade" and "Lay With Me."Not a good sign.

The music sounds like it was written in 1978 and given louder modern production, but very little here is vital or authoritative. It's simply Ted churning out his usual arena rock. How you feel about the Nuge or 70s hard rock determines if you will buy this; certainly, it has little to no appeal outside of those two groups. bim_ad_daily_vault_print_250

Sure, Ted's got a way with a solo and a fat Gibson power chord, and the power trio on this disc (Barry Sparks and Tammy Clufetos) is certainly having a good time. But you already know what to expect on this one, and you will be right: creepy sex lyrics, an ode or two to Native Americans and hunting, an instrumental, no compromise. The 90s hit "Fred Bear" is replaced here with "Spirit of the Buffalo," which is structured exactly the same and offers nothing new but the animal in question. "Aborigini" and "Geronimo and Me" see Ted assuming the role of the American Indian and singing about how great life is in between hot guitar licks (remember the time Sitting Bull played the Stratocaster? Give me a break).

There are decent rock grooves here, I guess, but the lyrics aren't any sort of leap forward. It's just Nugent repeating himself, as he has done since his heyday of Cat Scratch Fever. This is all power-chord roaring 70s rock that would have played better three decades ago. Even the remake of "Journey to the Center of the Mind" is unnecessary, although it does have a great production that adds muscle to the original's rather thin sound. The instrumental "Eagle Brother" is the best song here, while the bluesy "Lay With Me" sounds more natural than everything else here, even if you've heard it a hundred times already.

The low point is "Girlscout Cookies," which is fine musically but features some odd lyrics that could either be seen as an ode to cookies or, well, something else disgusting. I highly doubt the latter, given Ted's track record, but it's hard not to hear him growl "Never let the Girl Scouts go to your head" and "I get my cookies fresh from a child / That peanut butter gets stuck to the roof of my mouth" and wonder what the hell is going on. I mentioned the lyrics being bad? This, and odes to Ted being a "love grenade" and the like, are your typical cock-rock macho bullshit, best ignored.

Not a terrible album, but not something you really need to hear either.

Rating: C-

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© 2007 Benjamin Ray and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Eagle/Red, and is used for informational purposes only.