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Articles Home » 2008 Articles » Whitesnake - 2008 Good To Be Bad
Whitesnake - 2008 Good To Be Bad

ARTIST: Whitesnake
ALBUM: Good To Be Bad
YEAR: 2008


LINEUP: David Coverdale - vocals * Doug Aldrich - guitars * Reb Beach - guitars * Uriah Duffy - bass * Timothy Drury - keyboards * Chris Frazier - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Best Years * 02 Can You Hear The Wind Blow? * 03 Call On Me * 04 All I Want All I Need * 05 Good To Be Bad * 06 All For Love * 07 Summer Rain * 08 Lay Down Your Love * 09 A Fool In Love * 10 Got What You Need * 11 'Till The End Of Time



It seems a long time ago since this lot first put sound to vinyl. The debut Whitesnake album appeared way back in 1978, and their retro sound capturing the obvious Deep Purple influences was to be heard over the next three albums ('Love Hunter', 'Ready N Willing' and 'Come And Get It'). Being a DP offshoot meant the typical comparisons to the other DP lovechild - that being Rainbow, but I think it's clear that the blues/boogie/rock thing dominated David Coverdale's thinking away from what Richie Blackmore was doing. Come the 80's and with ex Tygers of Pan Tang and Thin Lizzy guitar maestro John Sykes onboard, Whitesnake released arguably their best material. 'Slide It In' and the mega-selling '1987'. Ditching Sykes and the rest of the band who recorded the album, Coverdale would prance around on MTV with a new band, and make a million bucks in the process. Poor albums followed.. 1989's 'Slip Of The Tongue' with Steve Vai in tow was a disaster, as was 1997's 'Restless Heart' - the plot long since lost from the glory-daze of the Sykes era. To my surprise, Coverdale still has enough pulling power to attract great musicians for this new 2008 edition of Whitesnake. The musicians listed certainly don't need any introduction to readers of this site. 'Good To Be Bad' is a celebratory 30th anniversary of the band's existence, and is now the band's eleventh studio album (so what's with the big 'X' (roman numeral 'ten') on the cover then?), and despite the title, the album is neither good nor bad.. to be honest.

The Songs
The album's first few songs are pretty good, but I did have to chuckle at the blatant attempt to mimic John Sykes guitars lines. Listening to 'Best Years' and 'Can You Hear The Wind Blow' and you'd be wondering who in their right mind put these boys up to this task? Much better is 'Call On Me' which at least has a bit of originality about it, even if it isn't truly trademark Whitesnake. A return to the MTV balladry turns up with 'All I Want All I Need'. Turn back the clock twenty years and reflect on tunes such 'Is This Love' and you're in this zone with this new one. To be fair, this is one for the AORsters, who I'm sure will love it! Aldrich and Beach tear it up on blistering rockers such as the title track 'Good To Be Bad', the fiery 'Lay Down Your Love' with a hint of Coverdale's vocal lines from 'Still Of The Night' popping up during the song. It's not all rock n roll testosterone. A few ballads are chucked in for good measure. 'Summer Rain' and 'Til The End Of Time' would sound good in an Unplugged session. I'll need to give this a few more listens, but I'm sure the more I do, I'll be inclined to go and listen to Sykes solo CD's.

In Summary
Fans of the 'Slide It In' and '1987' albums will take to this in droves - I reckon. Doug Aldrich had a major hand in the making of this record, and was quoted as saying that 'GTTB' was supposed to encompass all eras of the band. An admirable quote it might be, but not an accurate one. For me, I have one major complaint.. the band try too hard to emulate the John Sykes era for my liking. I mean that's a compliment to John, but really, when you consider that Coverdale gave him the boot so early on in the piece during the early stages of the '1987' LP release, it smacks of hypocrisy that Coverdale and Aldrich would even attempt to write and play music with even a modicum of Sykes' influence on this album! For this writer, it goes to show who really held the keys on that '1987' record, because the follow-up 'Slip Of The Tongue' without Sykes there - really did suck dog balls big time! The other issue - there is very little of the pre '1987' era here, despite what Aldrich is reported to have said. However, for what it's worth, 'Good To Be Bad' is a creditable release for Coverdale but it's not without its failings. I personally think he should get back to doing what he does best - wringing out blues based rockers and build upon his pre '1987' legacy. Leave this well-worn L.A metal stuff to the kiddies, because the days of MTV and million selling records are long gone. Put it this way, if the excellent Coverdale/Page release from 1994 was anything to go by, then it's as clear as the blue sky as to which direction he is better suited.

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#1 | jeffrey343 on January 01 1970 01:00:00
I just got this on Tuesday, and I've given it four spins so far, and my verdict is - I freakin' love it. I usually agree with most of y'alls opinions, but sometimes I'm the contratian, and this is one of those times. Of all the 'legacy' artists from back in the 80's & 90's who have released new material after a lengthy layoff, I must say that this as close as I've seen to that legacy sound - providing that the 1987 album is the reference point (as it is for me, since that's when I really noticed them, aside from a few cuts off 'Slide It In'). They've incorporated a more modern sound into the mix too. While I still think DC's vocals are a bit tired-sounding on 'All I Want All I Need', he's in fine voice throughout the rest of the CD. I'm currently listening to that 1987 CD as I write this, and the material does not sound 20 years different to me.

Plus, the wife really likes it. While she appreciates me introducing her to a bunch of new artists, she likes the familiarity of the legends we loved back in college. Plus, she still insists that DC was staring right at her at a Whitesnake concert back in 1990. She was there with a girlfriend, so I can't disagree, but I bet she was wearing a lot more clothing than most of the other chicks there...
#2 | dangerzone on April 08 2008 01:52:01
I agree about the Coverdale/Page album. It was hands down better than anything Coverdale has done since 1987. 'Good To Be Bad' is an absolute bore is my opinion. I've been listening to it and it's another extension of the dull sound George alluded to post 1987. Why doesn't Coverdale sing like he used to in his Purple and early Whitesnake years? Too many ballads, limp riffs and heard it all before melodies. This is for wimps to be perfectly honest. I guess it's a good job you got to it before me George because I would have had to find a suitable way to prevent myself from describing this for what it is: utter shite.
#3 | gdazegod on April 08 2008 02:10:33
Haha Alun. You must lament for the olde daze of Whitesnake huh? Like a few classic rockers too, particularly those who live in the UK who can't stand anything DC has done beyond '1987', save for that aforementioned 'Coverdale/Page' album.
#4 | dangerzone on April 08 2008 02:35:58
Very right George! Coverdale really lost his way. All the early Whitesnake albums were easy classics, especially 'Lovehunter' and 'Saints And Sinners'. Once he lost his true vocal style and gave up on boogie it was a sad descent into Americanised boredom.
#5 | gdazegod on April 09 2008 10:13:24
Don't get me wrong, I am a huge fan of Whitesnake's material right up until 1987, but mainly the earlier stuff. Alongside Van Halen and UFO and countless others, Whitesnake accompanied my teen years with pride. music
#6 | jeffduran on April 10 2008 18:40:21
Every time one of these legendary bands put out something new I really try and give it a chance. It is always difficult though not to compare it to past glory's. Never a HUGE Whitesnake fan personally so I wasn't expecting miracles here- although I do enjoy 'Saints & Sinners', 'Slide it In' and '1987' to this day. Coverdale's voice sounds strained and your right George when you say they should back off trying to recapture that late 80's sound and vibe. The ballad 'All I Want All I Need' and 'Call On Me' are acceptable I guess-but far from anything heard on the early classics.
#7 | rostoned on April 10 2008 20:51:45
in all honesty does the classic rock world needs another whitesnake album in 2008 (so some 20 years after their commercial masterpiece, whose music was written by one JOHN SYKES and more than that time for their xcellent blusier material) sung by a singer who's almost 60 (sixty) and still strutting his butt and shakin his fake blond mane on stage in leather pants and with a memory of a once fantastic voice? hilarious

definitely NOT! thumbs down
#8 | jeffrey343 on April 15 2008 18:11:09
The song in the jukebox, 'All I Want I Need', is pretty darn good. That could have been a big hit 20 years ago, especially if he made a video with Tawny Kitaen doing something hot. Alas, I can tell Mr. Coverdale's voice hasn't aged that well - it definitely sounds rougher than it did in his heyday (I also doubt Ms. Kitaen is as hot as she was back then, but then again I'm now at the age where late 40's doesn't look that old Wink ). I recall him saying something along the lines that he maintained his voice with 'Diet Coke & cigarettes' many years ago. I pre-ordered this - I have liked all the 80s stuff (yes, even 'Slip Of The Tongue'), and the wife was a major Whitesnake fan. Thanks to YouTube, we've been able to re-live all those videos we watched back in college.
#9 | george_the_jack on June 27 2008 01:01:53
Actually, he is too good to be bad, but he is not excellent anymore..
#10 | dangerzone on October 20 2008 06:16:03
I can't even beging to describe the farce that was 1997's 'Restless Heart'. If GTTB is below par then that was a waste of the earths way
#11 | rostoned on October 20 2008 10:17:58
These days I couldn't care less for WS, IMHO their peak was 1987 and then period. It was 21 years ago Smile
#12 | Hardlover on March 17 2009 18:55:35
I think this release is still good, yet not essential. It is much better musically than Restless Heart, IMO.
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