Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Dragons - Cheers to Me

Of all of the many fantastic Dragons’ releases, I believe that this and their debut are my two favorites. This continues their partying themes, their r’n’r attitude and their massive sound!

Opening with the ever-appropriate “Loaded” (considering their condition during most of the shows, which never detracted in any way), this blasts out with huge power chords, Kenny’s tasty licks and Mario’s tales of only feeling right when he is “loaded”. Superb production on this CD, too!

As much as I loved the earlier songs, the group’s songwriting has improved by this time, with more emphasis on Mario’s terrific melodies (never wimpy but always interesting and memorable), as on “I Don’t Mind”.

One of their most phenomenal tunes is definitely “Fade”, with the sublimely catchy and brilliant repeated line “I’d rather trip than slow down”. The band works with dynamics throughout but overall, this is supremely rockin’ and the lyrics continue with their theme of doing their best to please their woman but screwing up. “Embarrass you and care for you” is an apology that I’ve certainly had to make more than once while out with my better half! But, they are not willing to sacrifice their quest for heading for the edge of r’n’r just to not embarrass anyone else!

Tons of great r’n’r here – “In Between and Far Away”, “Je Suis” (with excellent dual guitar riffs), and the self-censored titled “Needs” with the sing-along line “I wanna fuck everyone – I wannawannawannawannawanna fuck” about connecting with an entire roomful of people all at once.

They rock through “Blackout” before creating a sensitive ballad in the oddly named “Bug”, not too dissimilar from a prettier “Lonely Planet Boy”. Returning to unbridled, upbeat energy with tunes like “Saturday Nite Ups’n’Downs”, “Red Fox Room”, and “Tiger Subtleties”, that again are obviously autobiographical.

Slowing down the tempo a little for “Campus Avenue”, without being wimpy in the least – this still has a good groove and swagger. “Losing Game” ups the ante again, while not becoming utterly frantic, and has some very hip guitar licks added. Exceptionally memorable is “2nd Afterthought” – great melody and plenty of riffing to go around!

Closing with “Back Where We Started”, a feedback laden monster and instantly recognizable as another perfect Dragons tune. This was a real rock’n’roll band!

Again, I highly recommend everything by these cats, but this is especially great!