It seems that you've been shattered somehow
I see you always walking around
With a long face, singing the blues"
One Word Review: Enduring
After the Strength opus, Animals... is a slightly bumpier road. Some songs equal anything that was on Strength and a few even go beyond, but the album also has a couple that are on my least favorite Z'nuff song list. The band still has that nerve and edge in their songwriting, that sets them apart from other bands and their ability to marry Metal, Rock & Pop into something unique is ever present. The order of the day is super catchy Hard Rock, which is sometimes thoughtful, sometimes fun, sometimes sad and always memorable.
Even though Vikki Foxx has vanished from the cover photo, he is still the one playing drums on the album.
The ferocious Superstitious opens the disc and it's a cool guitar based song, showing the heavier side of the band, as Derek Frigo on guitar fires up the record for a massive blastoff. Be sure to check out the Letterman performance in the Video section below.
Changing the moods, Black Rain has a slight psychedelic feel, due to the vocal harmonies and the rhythm that slowly creeps up on you. On top of that it has a groove that makes it impossible to sit still while listening. Great performance by Donnie on this one.
Right by your side is a personal favorite. It is one of those perfect catchy songs that Enuff Z'nuff are so good at creating. Donnie's gentle voice lets the song soar above ground and the guitar riffs keeps it floating. I am at a loss for words when it comes to describing this song, it just has a special quality, a timelessness that only gets stronger with age. I have also sung this one far too many times into a phone on late nights, to the amusement or horror of many friends and the unfortunate parent, who once picked up the phone. Immortal in every way.
The party vibe gets turned up with These daze. A hugely catchy and well performed track, that I again, find it impossible not to sing along with. The guitar has a cool drive to it, an essential element for a song of this type. A classy song with a hint of yearning for the good old days.
Master of pain was my least favorite of the album for a long time. Mostly because of it's frankly boring chorus. The good things about the song are the splendid guitar work and its extreme heaviness, definitely one of the heaviest songs Enuff Z'nuff have ever put down on record. I also love the tone in Donnie's voice when he sings the line "Get set for misery". Too bad the song fades out just when Derek starts shredding.
Innocence is close to perfection. The piano is beautifully used and the song never becomes sentimental. Donnie wrote this to his younger sisters about growing up, and it is a timeless classic. Both sad, hopeful and life affirming, with an incredible amount of emotion. Atmospheric and picturesque meet in a warm embrace in this hymn to life.
Like These Daze, the hard-rocking One step closer to you has a fantastic drive and I find it impossible not to start a sing along. It is a knockout song with an indescribable energy, perfectly captured by the incredibly smooth opening, where, as Donnie starts singing, it is clear to me that everything, and I mean everything about this band, just gels. This is one of those songs that has grown over time and currently it is among my absolute favorites of the album.
Bring it on home is a little let down by its chorus but nonetheless it is a great song. This is also the song that was supposed to be in my all time favorite movie, Jerry Maguire, but mysteriously disappeared. It is a hard hitting song both musically and lyrically and those opening lines of each verse work beautifully, as a contrast to the rest of the music.
Takin' a ride is the ultimate psychedelic Enuff Z'nuff song. With a definite smoking feeling, along with a Beatles touch, I get the perfect picture of Chip Z'nuff, Donnie Vie & John Lennon sitting somewhere getting high and playing this song. Frigo's solo here is perfectly tuned to the oozing atmosphere.
Love train is the all out party song of the album. A simple song that doesn't hold my interest in the long run.
Mary Anne lost her baby might just be the album's finest moment. A completely moving and rocking song that gets under your skin and stays there. With a sincere message, it shows the band taking a step away from the usual love, party & heartbreak lyrics and tackle a difficult subject without becoming tacky. An incredibly smooth song that is over way too soon.
Closing the original release is Rock n world. Like Love Train, I would describe this song as good and nothing more. The simple chorus lets the song down and I miss a special touch. Donnie's opening scream is cool though and live this song erm... rocks!
The Spitfire re-release I have, also has Fingertips as a bonus track. If you haven't heard this beautiful ballad, then it is worth tracking down. Comparing the Spitfire re-release to the original Arista release, there are some weird differences in the sound. One example is the beginning of Innocence, where the re-release has a distinctly bad sound and I would highly recommend the original Arista release over the Spitfire re-release, which also has a different front cover.
Animals... was the third Enuff Z'nuff album, the last on a major label and from then the band took a downward plummet in every way other than musically. Today, the music still endures and this is a fine testament to the Strength of the band. It is still one of the most varied Enuff Z'nuff albums and I'm sure that long-time fans as well as new ones will find something to love within its deep ocean of music.
Written By Steen
Online: Sunday, April 12, 2015
Right by Your Side