CD Review: Whitesnake / Forevermore
Reviewed by: Mary Ouellette
David Coverdale once said that all of the Whitesnake albums are one large family that share a common bloodline, and if that’s the case then their new album Forevermore is the Big Daddy of them all. Forevermore takes the music back to the core of Whitesnake’s bluesy, ballsy, roots that the band built their name on. While not as heavy as their last release it’s a lot more melodic. Simply put, Forevermore is classic Whitesnake.
One thing that is never certain in the Whitesnake camp is the line-up of the band. This album sees the return of guitar greats Doug Aldrich and Reb Beach, undoubtedly two of the best in the business. It also ushers in a new rhythm section with Brian Tischy on drums and Michael Devin on bass. The writing team of Coverdale and Aldrich seem to have hit their stride though and the band seems to be benefiting throughout from a cohesion that may have been missing in the past.
The album kicks off with “Steal Your Heart Away”, a genre bending rocker with bluesy licks, sing-a-long choruses, and easily one of the catchiest songs on the album. It’s seemingly the perfect way to kick things off; the energy is hard to deny. It also serves to quell any concerns anyone had about Coverdale’s vocals after the injury he sustained on the 2009 British Steel Tour. He seems to be firing on all cylinders, and anyone that knows Coverdale knows that even if he’s only at fifty percent he’d still wipe the floor with some of his contemporaries.
The first single “Love Will Set You Free” offers up one of the strongest tracks on the album and definitely sets the pace. Coverdale’s vocals rip through the track and Doug Aldrich is let loose to set fire on one of the album’s best guitar solos. For those longing for the video vixen days of old ala Tawny Kitaen, never fear, the band fulfills even that basic need in their video for the song with a pole-dancing scene featuring Coverdale’s current wife Cyndi, whom the song was penned about. (Check out the video below)
A few acoustic tracks sparkle throughout the album as well. With “Fare Thee Well” and “One Of These Days”. Whitesnake offer up an unexpected but unique twist to the flow of the album. When one thinks Whitesnake, acoustic doesn’t excactly jump to the forefront but these songs are beautiful additions to a well rounded album that has a little something for everyone. While Coverdale’s lyric writing is historically somewhat predictable tales of sex, love and double entendres, it’s on these softer songs where Coverdale’s lyrics open up to a little more depth.
“My Evil Ways” is an addictively fun rocker that gives everyone in the band a little face time from the drum intro to the dueling guitars. It’s at this point that I should point out that the production on this album, while glossy, is just enough. Produced and mixed by Coverdale and Aldrich with some help from Michael McIntyre, the band being hands-on on through the entire process definitely proved to be fruitful. Coverdale calls his partnership with Aldrich one that “is based on friendship and mutual respect for a shared vision”. Who could argue with that?
If you’re looking for the signature Whitesnake ballad on Forevermore, look no further than “Easier Said Than Done”. The melodic tune harkens back to the larger than life ballads of years gone by and no one does them better than Whitesnake. Whitesnake has always known how to write these gems, and nothing changes this time around, they deliver the goods and then some.
All in all, it’s hard to point out any true misses on this album. Everything seems to have it’s place from bluesy anthemic rockers to the comfortably fitting signature Whitesnake sound to the band showing they’re willing to try something a little different with tracks like “I Need You (Shine A Light)”. They’ve stepped out of the box, into the box, and then around the box – all with guitars blazing, vocals screaming and the new rhythm section getting their groove on.
Title track “Forevermore” is aptly named as it clocks in at a little over seven minutes. It’s hauntingly beautiful ballad that shows a more vulnerable Whitesnake. Lyrically the song is a retrospective of Coverdale’s life and how it’s prepared him to appreciate the future; something all of us can relate to. The song closes out the album perfectly by slowly winding down the rock and roll extravaganza that preceded it.
Cranking out their eleventh studio album with Forevermore and over thirty years of Whitesnake it’s not only refreshing but commendable that Whitesnake continues to churn out timeless rock music and not resort to playing the “summer reunion tour” circuit that so many bands from this era seem to get caught up in. Celebrating the past is always fun but creating new music “Forevermore” is just as important.
1. Steal Your Heart Away
2. All Out Of Luck
3. Love Will Set You Free
4. Easier Said Than Done
5. Tell Me How
6. I Need You (Shine A Light)
7. One Of These Days
8. Love And Treat Me Right
9. Dogs In The Street
10. Fare Thee Well
11. Whipping Boy Blues
12. My Evil Ways
Watch the video for “Love Will Set You Free”: