Sunday, December 20, 2009

Steppenwolf - Monster

This is another of Steppenwolf’s records that a number of songs were culled from for their Gold (greatest hits) CD but I love to hear the tunes in their original setting, with the lesser known songs in between. A solid outing through and through and probably their most solidly political record.

In my rave of the Gold CD
, I went on at length about the near-perfect medley of “Monster/Suicide/America”, which still, unfortunately, rings true, even more than two years since I last wrote about it.

Another highly political song is “Draft Resister” (funnily titled “Draft Register” on my copy of the CD!), with excellent and topical lyrics and still great riffs and a catchy number. “Power Play” follows with a Howlin’ Wolf-esque guitar riff, creating a cool, bluesy tune that again is still all too relevant and maybe prescient today ("Remember if you plan to stay, those who give can take away, don’t bite the hand that feeds you”). Nice rave-up ending to this one, too.

More politics in “Move Over” while still rockin’ pretty furiously. I think that this record must have come out just before their recording of their Live album, as many of these songs were highlighted on that, which sounded like a political rally set to music and was recorded at the same time as a big marijuana protest in Washington, D.C.

The extremely un-PC titled “Fag” (no idea where that came from for this tune) is basically a throw away instrumental jam and not particularly interesting, unfortunately. More successful is the funky groove in their cover of “What Would You Do (If I Did That To You)” (I can’t find out who did the original) that is energetic and ultra-groovy.

The closer is another fave of mine (yes, I have many for this band!), “From Here to There Eventually”, with more anti-establishment words about sex and growing up and realizing that you can’t always believe everything that you were taught. Very cool female vocals alternating with Kay here to great effect on top of the rockin’ guitars.

Probably only a major fan necessarily “needs” this record on top of the Gold CD, but this truly is a “Monster” all the way through!