Album Reviews

Jimmy Barnes – Rage And Ruin

Released By : Liberation Records

Genre : Rock

Links : http://www.jimmybarnes.com/

Tracklist:

1. God Or Money

2. Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead

3. Letter From A Dead Heart

4. Stupid Heart

5. Adam Was Just A Man

6. I’ve Seen It All (Rage And Ruin)

7. Can’t Do It Can

8. Time Can Change

9. This Ain’t The Day That I Die

10. Love Can Break The Hardest Heart

11. Turn It Around

12. Largs Pier Hotel

I don’t know if it’s just a patriotic thing being an Aussie and all, but I have always been a supporter and fan of Jimmy Barnes. Okay so realistically he is a Pom, but we claimed him as one of our own years ago. My heritage is English anyway so I guess I have all of my bases covered. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t been able to honestly judge his music, and I’ll be the first to admit that over the years there has been a fair share of less than stellar efforts from the man with the big voice.

Since the beginning of his solo career, BARNES has gone from Aussie pub rocker, to AOR hero, to crooner, to soul man and many other things in between. While his rock and AOR days are where his best performances came from, each different era still managed to herald at least one or two great songs. This all ended for me with the album previous to this one called THE RHYTHM AND THE BLUES, which was truly the bottom of the barrel and was the album I thought would sink his career. I have a feeling that many people felt the same way, including BARNES himself, because he has come back nary a year later with a new album of original tunes that get closer to the AOR hero of yesteryear that he has been for a long, long time.

It’s not quite in the same playing field as his earlier screaming rock, but more of a mature effort that finds BARNES in a comfort zone of sorts, but without ignoring his previous legacy. RAGE AND RUIN has a quite earnest feel to it and features some of the deepest lyrics BARNES has ever sung. Musically there is combination of a singer-songwriter vibe and a slight country feel, but without either coming to heavily into the foreground.

Opening track GOD OR MONEY is a pretty safe starting point and cruises along quite innocently, but is instantly better that anything from the previous album. BEFORE THE DEVIL KNOWS YOU’RE DEAD is one of the more powerful tunes BARNES has released in about a decade and works well as a lead off single. LETTER FROM A DEAD HEART is like a mellowed out COLD CHISEL tune and should please long-time fans. STUPID HEART is a typical BARNESY ballad that doesn’t stray too far in to wimpy territory. ADAM WAS JUST A MAN is a cruisy tune with soul feel to it and is a good way for BARNES to combine some of his previous styles. I’VE SEEN IT ALL is another tune with a slight country tinge that passes along innocently enough but is also a little forgettable. CAN’T DO IT AGAIN is a great little Aussie rock tune. TIME CAN CHANGE is another slower number that find BARNES in fine vocal form. THIS AIN’T THE DAY is another very Australian sounding tune but with a modern flair. A true highlight comes next with LOVE CAN BREAK THE HARDEST HEART that is a pure AOR delight and a ballad worthy of being released at any stage in JIMMY’S career. TURN IT AROUND has that familiar COLD CHISEL feeling to it, complete with an “AWW YEAH” vocal intro, albeit in a much lower key than the good old days. The album closes with a great little shanty tune about a pub that COLD CHISEL used to play at regularly in days gone by and really is a great way to end a very good album.

One-eyed Aussie pub rock simply won’t be into this as it doesn’t really have much grunt to it, but for people with a better ear for good music let it be known that RAGE AND RUIN is a very good singer-songwriter style album and a much better zone for JIMMY BARNES to be in at this point in time. I just hope that the album is well received and we may just see a late career resurgence from one of Australia’s favorite sons.

Written By ZeeZee

Rating : 8/10

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