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"These Days" Review 1 January 1996

A review by Hew Yang-Wahn

After listening to the album once, I decided that I didn't like it that much. But over the course of two weeks, I grew to like it, after re-listening to it a few times. In my mind the brilliance of "Keep The Faith" still beats "These Days" (the albums, that is) but this is a great rock album anyway.

"Hey God" kicks off the album pretty well, and it helps make a good first impression with a rousing rhythm and chords. I used to listen to this a lot but for some reason I've grown tired of it. I don't know why, figure it out yourself, but something about the song makes you tired of it after a while. In any case, 3/5 for music and lyrics even when you get tired of it.

"Something for the Pain" is a great song as well, and video is really funny! Funky guitar makes it sound awesome, and the lyrics rule. 4/5 for music, 3/5 for lyrics. One of the best songs on the album. I agree with Peter in that this song isn't good to listen to when you're sad. Anyway, when I get angry at something, I don't listen to this song, I go for Deep Purple :)

As for the famous first single and video, "This Ain't A Love Song", it sounds a LOT like Aerosmith's "Crazy" or "Crying", but then Desmond Child co-wrote or at least had an influence on all three. It's great though, with excellent guitar, and very very excellent lyrics as well. I don't particularly go for love songs but any guitar guy who likes great-sounding chords and rhythms should check this out. 4/5 for music, 5 for lyrics.

For some reason "These Days" does not appeal to me too much. I mean I like it, but somehow I prefer the strong guitars of "This Ain't..." and "Heart's Breaking Even". Fine lyrics, good rhythm, but it makes me a bit melancholy somehow... just my opinion, remember. 4/5 for music, 3/5 for lyrics.

I originally didn't like "Lie To Me": too soft for a guitar fanatic. But after listening to it a few times I decided that it was pretty good. Easy to play on the guitar (too easy ;) and good timing of the elements. 4/5 for music and lyrics.

"Damned" is OK. Nice guitar, pity about most of the rest of the song. Half of the time I skip over it, as for the other half, I don't even realise that it's been playing. I agree with Peter that the lyrics aren't that great. 2/5 for lyrics, but 3/5 for music.

"My Guitar Lies Bleeding In My Arms"? Ever heard of a similarly-named Beatles song? In any case, it's not bad, although it's way too slow and a bit melancholy for me. I notice it more often than I notice "Damned" playing, though. 4/5 for music, 3/5 for lyrics.

"It's Hard Letting You Go" is one song that does not jump out at me at all. I never program the player to play this, and if I do, or I don't program the player, well, I just skip it or ignore it. Something in the song just doesn't agree with me. 1/5 for music, 2/5 for lyrics.

I totally disagree with Peter about "Heart's Breaking Even". I think it's an awesome song, with great guitar and once again, an obvious Aerosmith "Crazy/Amazing/Crying" (or maybe that should be DESMOND CHILD influence). I like the way John sings about personal loss and how to cope with it by just packing it up and going on with life: but then that's my personal philosophy so I would like it! 4/5 for music, 5/5 for lyrics.

"Something to Believe In" has strange patterns in it, but I like the lyrics, and the chorus in the background (or whatever one would call it) sounds very good too. 4/5 for lyrics, 3/5 for music.

"If That's What It Takes" is basically martial-sounding. I don't mind it, but I'd sooner program over it and listen to "Lie To Me" or "Heart's Breaking Even" one more time. OK lyrics though. 3/5 lyrics and music.

"Diamond Ring" just did not agree with me that well at first. Too slow, sounded too much like the Michael-Bolton-style of singing to me for some reason. And no walls of guitars :) Actually a bit Spanish, once you think of it. But after a while you begin to like it. 4/5 music and lyrics.

As for "All I Want Is Everything", it's good, but for some reason it reminds me of "Heart's Breaking Even" and "Damned" combined together, then watered down. Which is why I'd rather listen to the other two instead, although this is not a bad song at all. 3/5 for both.

Finally, "Bitter Wine". I just don't like this song too much. It may be good for a candlelight dinner or when you're at a restaurant etc. at first, after that it becomes a bit mixed in style. Personally, I'd rather listen to the songs with stronger guitar, again, but this IS a good love song anyway. 4/5 for music and 3/5 for lyrics.

Y-W Slayer

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