12 Songs, 50 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

With legendary guitarist Paul Gilbert back in the group for the first time since 1996’s Hey Man, Mr. Big are ready to rock like it’s 1989 all over again. Their pre-grunge sound, dependent on the band’s incredible musicianship, fell out of fashion in the ‘90s. But now 20 years onward they sound like they’ve replanted themselves in their natural habitat. Lovers of the power ballad will surely thrill to the sound of “Stranger In My Life,” while purebred hard rockers will cherish “Undertow,” “American Beauty” and “Nobody Left to Blame.” Gilbert’s shredding, bassist Billy Sheehan’s athletic bass runs, and drummer Pat Torpey’s inventive fills come together in perfect syncopation, but it’s singer Eric Martin’s chest-thumping howl that announces the band’s dominance. These are unashamed anthems from an era when everything was supersized and built for the arena (“Still Ain’t Enough for Me”). Producer Kevin Shirley gives everything a tight, unpretentious sheen. (A producer doesn’t have to do as much when the players are of such high caliber.) The bonus track “Unforgiven” is every bit as killer as “Once Upon a Time” and other album highlights.

EDITORS’ NOTES

With legendary guitarist Paul Gilbert back in the group for the first time since 1996’s Hey Man, Mr. Big are ready to rock like it’s 1989 all over again. Their pre-grunge sound, dependent on the band’s incredible musicianship, fell out of fashion in the ‘90s. But now 20 years onward they sound like they’ve replanted themselves in their natural habitat. Lovers of the power ballad will surely thrill to the sound of “Stranger In My Life,” while purebred hard rockers will cherish “Undertow,” “American Beauty” and “Nobody Left to Blame.” Gilbert’s shredding, bassist Billy Sheehan’s athletic bass runs, and drummer Pat Torpey’s inventive fills come together in perfect syncopation, but it’s singer Eric Martin’s chest-thumping howl that announces the band’s dominance. These are unashamed anthems from an era when everything was supersized and built for the arena (“Still Ain’t Enough for Me”). Producer Kevin Shirley gives everything a tight, unpretentious sheen. (A producer doesn’t have to do as much when the players are of such high caliber.) The bonus track “Unforgiven” is every bit as killer as “Once Upon a Time” and other album highlights.

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