Enuff Z'Nuff

Spitfire Records, 2000


REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


I think I finally have Enuff Z'Nuff figured out. After slugging it out for over a decade, both in and out of the spotlight, Chip Z'Nuff and bandmates have come out with 10, their latest effort which takes the sound they've made a career out of and builds a strong layer upon it.

Listening to this disc for about the fifth time, it came to me: people have been incorrect classifying Enuff Z'Nuff as a Beatles-like band. Listen closely to this disc, and you'll swear you're listening to Badfinger at times. Follow me on this for a minute: both bands have (or, in Badfinger's case, had) an edge to their music while glorifying their pop roots, both bands count The Beatles as major influences, both bands have been unfairly ignored after initial success.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

A stretch, you say? Maybe... but you won't care about that when you listen to 10. This is the record that Z'Nuff and crew have been working their way towards their entire career.

The partnership between Z'Nuff and guitarist/vocalist Donnie Vie is one of the most underappreciated in rock's history, and the two bandmates take major steps to correct this on 10. From the opening notes of "There Goes My Heart" (there's that Badfinger influence), Enuff Z'Nuff lets the listener know they're tired of being ignored, and are going to leave everything they have musically in the studio. And we should be on our knees thanking Yahweh for this.

Oh, sure, I'm creaming over one song, you may think. But 10 is just getting warmed up. Tracks like "Fly Away," "What Can I Do?" and "All Right" are evidence that Enuff Z'Nuff is easily at the top of their game. And then, there's "Wake Up". This track makes me think that this is what N*Sync will sound like once they hit puberty. It's simply killer - and honestly, while it's not the kind of sound you'd expect from Enuff Z'Nuff, it's incredibly good.

There are very few moments of weakness on 10. One such moment, "The Beast," is simply a track that takes a few listens to really appreciate, and is by no definition of the word a bad song. The other track, "Suicide," is similar, and though it has a deeper meaning, I can't say I've found this to be as satisfying on repeat listens.

Even the two covers are pure magic. Yes, I can hear people saying, "What!?! 'Everything Works If You Let It' again?!?" Yes, only this time the mix is "improved" so that guest musician Billy Corgan can be heard. (I didn't have my copy of Paraphernalia handy when I wrote this, so I can't do a comparison of the two mixes.) And the band's take on "The Jean Genie," originally from the pen of David Bowie, captures the spirit of the original while adding just enough of a Z'Nuff flavor to it.

Will 10 go out and become the massive blockbuster that it deserves to be, and restore Enuff Z'Nuff to the upper echelon of power-pop/rock? Sadly, no. But then again, genius never is recognized in its own time. For those who are in the know, however, this is going to be a disc that damn well should be at the top of people's "best-of" lists for the new millenium.

Rating: A

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2000 Christopher Thelen 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 Spitfire Records, and is used for informational purposes only.