CD Reviews

Winger - 'Winger' / 'In The Heart Of The Young' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     May 14, 2016    
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The definitive versions of two of the best records released in that era.

Often misunderstood because of the "pretty boy" image, Winger were one of the most genuinely talented and respected bands of their ilk by anyone who could see beyond their MTV videos. Formed by Alice Cooper alumni Kip Winger and whizz-kid guitarist Reb Beach after the pair met during the Beau Hill-produced sessions for Fiona's 'Beyond The Pale' record, the line-up was completed by virtuoso Dixie Dregs drummer Rod Morgenstein and Winger's fellow Alice Cooper sideman Paul Taylor (keys), although Malcolm Dome's sleeve notes reveal that Taylor didn't play on the 1988 debut album and only joined after the album was completed.

If an immediate impact is what you want with your debut album then look no further than 'Winger' with the triple whammy of 'Madaleine', 'Hungry' and 'Seventeen'; three hard hitting Rockers with killer riffs, huge drums, earworm choruses and arrangements and musicianship that make the term "Hair Metal" seem as ridiculous as it really was. Harnessed together brilliantly by producer Hill, the sheer punchiness of these tunes, along with 'State Of Emergency', 'Time To Surrender' and their version of 'Purple Haze', amongst others, make up the bulk of a classic album.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

Throw in the beautifully written ballads 'Without The Night' and the understated brilliance of 'Headed For A Heartbreak' (check out Beach's heart-bursting solos!) and you have everything you could ever want from your Melodic Hard Rock. This powerful re-master adds not only the CD-only Rocker 'Higher And Higher' and the 1991 re-mix of '...Heartbreak', but also a re-master of the previously issued demo, 'Never'.

For their second album Winger pushed the envelope a little more, using keyboards more effectively and slipping in those clever arrangement tricks that always make you smile. There were perfectly played, straight-ahead Rockers, of course, and 'Can't Get Enuff', 'Easy Come Easy Go', 'Little Dirty Blonde' and 'Baptized By Fire' all fit the bill, but when the band stretches out with the likes of 'Rainbow In The Rose' and the title track, the effect is simply breathtaking. The Taylor power ballad 'Miles Away' was the big hit single, but the likes of 'In The Day We'll Never See' and 'In The Heart Of The Young' would herald the change of the lyrical content that would come with the next album. The re-master includes the cool Rocker 'All I Ever Wanted' and the single edit of '...Enuff', and whilst I've always preferred the debut, a re-evaluation of the second album puts them much closer together than I thought. The sleeve interviews with Dome complete the definitive versions of two of the best records released in that era.

Phil Ashcroft

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