Geffen Records, 1978

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


There once was a time that the British band Whitesnake was one of the leading forces in solid blues-rock, even if there were tinges of cock-rock involved. The thing about it was that there was at least a balance between the two sides, so songs like "Slide It In" weren't as patently offensive as they night have been otherwise.

I bring this up now because I recently dug the band's second album, Trouble, out of the Pierce Archives to give it a spin or two. It's a good thing that David Coverdale and crew weren't shot on sight because of this lemon. Not only is the band more interested in ridiculous sex talk (which would have at least been laughable had it not sounded so serious), but they often forget the whole purpose is to write decent songs, of which there are very few on this album.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The trouble (no pun intended) starts off right at the beginning with "Take Me With You," a song that at least has a catchy beat, if not much more. Coverdale immediately goes to work on his Cassanova-in-Spandex routine - and immediately destroys the credibility of the band for this album. Sample lines: "Gonna spread her pretty legs so I can see / Sweet lip honey be the death of me." Later in the song: "I know love and what it means / It's a skinny little girl in tight-ass jeans." Give me a fuckin' break, Dave; I'd expect this kind of shit from Hanson in heat, not from a rocker who had to be within sniffing distance of 30 at this time.

Wait, it gets better - or is that worse? Coverdale, obviously the poster child for NOW, continues to sign about modern love in 1978 with such ridiculous tracks as "Love To Keep You Warm" and "Lie Down (A Modern Love Song)". The point of the latter? From the chorus: "Lie down, I think I love you." (I'll pause now so the reader can stop laughing.) Add to that a half-assed cover of "Day Tripper," and you have the makings of a disaster waiting to strike at the start of each song.

What Whitesnake almost forgets throughout Trouble is that there are some damned fine musicians that make up this band, something that would have been lost had it not been for the instrumental "Belgian Tom's Hat Trick". Guitarists Micky Moody and Bernie Mardsen provide some nice chops to redeem the band in one aspect, while Jon Lord, rising from the ashes of Deep Purple (which had broken up a couple years previous), shows shy he is one of the most exciting keyboard players out there.

The second half of Trouble isn't nearly as offensive as the first, but I'd be hard-pressed to say that tracks like "Don't Mess With Me," "Free Flight" or the title track are anything spectacular. If the song is the message, then the message I'm getting is that there's no one home.

Maybe Trouble was meant to be Coverdale's declaration of independence from the more strict songwriting style that he experienced as Deep Purple came to a close in the mid-'70s, or maybe it was him trying out a new style. Who knows, maybe it was Coverdale admitting he was a first-class horndog to rival Kiss. Whatever the case, Trouble is appropriately named, and is one that you can pass on without feeling guilty about.

Rating: D-

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© 1998 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 Geffen Records, and is used for informational purposes only.