State Of Shock

Ted Nugent

Epic, 1979

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 01/30/2017

Like any party, the good times eventually have to come to an end. And, after riding a wave of popularity that started to show some signs of trouble on Weekend Warriors, one could say the party officially ended for Ted Nugent on his fifth solo studio disc (and sixth solo album overall), State Of Shock.

It's not that the disc is bad, per se. It's just that, like the joker at the party who does the lampshade on the head gag a few too many times, Nugent's formulatic songwriting is boring this time out, with only a few moments of brilliance. When a cover version of “I Want To Tell You” turns out to be the highlight of the album, you know that something is wrong.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

So what went wrong this time around? Maybe it's that we've heard tracks like “Paralyze,” “Bite Down Hard” and “Snake Charmer” again and again throughout The Nuge's solo career, and it feels like he's charging down the same road, only this time on bald tires. Even when there's an attempt to make some minor changes to the style, tracks like “Alone” end up feeling like the same old formulatic schtick, and “It Don't Matter” sounds like it's Nugent's declaration of the whole album.

This isn't to say that State Of Shock doesn't have its bright spots. The title track is a shift in musical style for Nugent, and turns out to be a refreshing change of pace to these old ears. Yet, even when Nugent sticks to the sexual braggadocio he's made a career out of, a track like “Saddle Sore” can indeed be made to sound interesting – evidence there was indeed gas left in the tank.

The overall problem with State Of Shock isn't that Nugent continues with the lyrical swagger in his songs, it's just that he has yet to figure out a way to present it to the listener in a different manner consistently, making it sound like he and his backing band are believing 100 percent in the performance – after all, if they don't sound like they're into it, why should the listener feel as if they have an emotional investment in the songs? Even Nugent's guitar work sounds like he's coasting – the solo on “Paralyzed” is pedestrian, and anyone who's listened to at least one Nugent album knows he's capable of much, much better axe work.

State Of Shock is the first real sign that the party was ending for Nugent, and while he would still have moments of brilliance, even on this disc, it's the beginning of a period of releases that one would have to call for the diehard fans only.

Rating: C

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