Black Love [20th Anniversary Edition]

Afghan Whigs

Rhino/Elektra, 2016

http://theafghanwhigs.com

REVIEW BY: Pete Crigler

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 12/15/2016

The 20th anniversary of the Whigs’ Black Love has arrived. This was a record that was a commercial stiff at the time of its release but has grown in popularity from fans and critics in the years since. Unfortunately, this release it seems to be lacking a lot of bonuses that would’ve made the reissue really worth it.

Things kick off with “Crime Scene – Part One,” a slow-burning track that allows mastermind Greg Dulli to show everyone that he’s got something different up his sleeve this time around. The song doesn’t really stand out, but it is an interesting place to begin things. A song like “Blame, Etc.,” based around the life of the Temptations’ David Ruffin, is only halfway decent and doesn’t really live up to its promise. Meanwhile, the album’s main single “Honky’s Ladder,” which sounds like something tailor-made for the radio, is one of the more skippable tracks here, one that just doesn’t do much for the average listener 20 years later.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

“My Enemy” is more of a throwback to earlier Whigs material, with lots of guitar and some real guttural vocal work. “Going To Town” and “Step Into The Light” are two of my personal favorites and remain really great highlights with their all around great vocal work and musicianship. The end of the disc is where the wheels start to come off, long, teetering on the edge of boring; the last couple of songs just don’t work and just bore most people to death.

The album’s bonus disc isn’t really anything to get excited about at all, unlike the Gentlemen reissue a couple of years back. Around the time of this album’s release, there were a series of EPs and promo singles that were packed with bonus content, including a bunch of covers. The disc does not include any of those, except for an interesting version of New Order’s “Regret.” There are also a couple of demos and some instrumental jams that never really go anywhere and probably would’ve been better left in the vault.

Ultimately, this reissue seems kind of half-assed and unnecessary, as if the parties involved unintentionally gypped the fans. A record this interesting deserved a lot better than what it has received here.

Rating: B-

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