Joe Lynn Turner
Joe Lynn Turner - JLT - 2003 Shrapnel Records Reviewed by: Jonah Haze
|Track ListingIn Cold Blood|
Love Don't Live Here
Cryin' Out Loud
Drivin' With My Eyes Closed
Hit the Switch
Joe Lynn Turner is the perfect example of a vocalist who truly understands his fanbase. His calculated integration of both balls and melody in his voice and his songwriting has remained a consistent reminder that rock certainly is not dead.
Joe's history of classic British hard rock influence is well represented here on the aptly titled JLT. Well produced by JLT and longtime friends Bob Held and Mark Wexler the CD introduces itself with an ass-kicker, "In Cold Blood", showing off his membership in the coveted DPAS. "Jump Start", "Cryin' Out Loud" and "Drivin' With My Eyes Closed" follow in the same tradition nicely and work very well with the rest of the tunes which for the most part are just straight up enjoyable JLT signature.
Joe breaks away into his own unique east coast hard rock attitude easily with a few of my personal picks like the pounding passion of "Fantasize" or the emotionally charged "Excess" and probably the most non-British sounding ballad I have heard from him since the "Rescue You" days, the wonderfully original "Love Dont Live Here".
Thanks to Mike Varney and Shrapnel's historically cheap packaging the players on the album are nameless but do provide a solid hard rock backbone. The guitars are actually pretty heavy in comparison to the outstanding HTP records and the bass and drums simply do a damn good job. There was nothing musically brilliant here that jumped out and slapped me with a warning that the players are going anywhere beyond Joe and maybe some sessions with Davey Pattison or Gary Barden, but in a day and age where 80% of signed and touring musicians cannot tie there shoes without a roadie, I was more than happy to hear qualified players.
It is apparent with Joe's busy project schedule his voice continues to enjoy the constant workout, rises to the challenge and stands strong on its own. Now, I doubt much of our great country's great youth will be sifting through the miscellaneous T's and say, "Hey, who is this BLT guy?", and give him a chance. However, if these kids only knew that any of their heroes in any one of these faceless post-grunge-modern-alternative-punk-metal bands grew up with their soulless eyes glued to MTV during the Stone Cold/Street of Dreams days, I bet they would cut their phaux-hawks, start buying the good weed and learn how to actually play their instruments. Well, I wouldn't bet too much but I will rip their hair out, steal the weed and break their Jackson's over their newly clean heads.
Not to say that JLT's almost 30 year career excuses tracks like the ridiculous "Let's Go" and "Lie". Along with "Blood Fire" where Joe attempts his best "I could have been in Bad Company too" approach and the drop-tuned below-average formulaic "Hit the Switch" these four tracks almost resemble the probable sound he achieved upon first recording the demos for this record. The production, the musicianship, the writing and even Joe are all weak and these obvious fillers are the only detractors of an otherwise inspired, mature and ballsy release.
Joe shows no signs of slowing down and while he has had to make adjustments with age (like all the greats), his songwriting, his energy, attitude and ability to still balls out those high notes will continually misprove anything the 90's tried to pass off as talent and surpass most of his peers from the 80's. He has yet to yield to the current flavor and fraudulently deliver a piece of shit under the guise of greatness like so many from his generation. Make no mistake Joe Lynn, that message rings loud and clear to your fans and will hopefully one day get you the legendary respect and credit you deserve.
Links: www.Joelynnturner.com, www2.shrapnelrecords.com
I give this album 7 Fandango's out of 10.
--Jonah Haze 08.06.04