Mr. Big - Defying Gravity

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Defying Gravity is Mr. Big's follow-up release to the excellent ...The Stories We Could Tell, the third album since their comeback in 2010, and while it does offers some positive moments, it doesn't quite live up to the quality of its predecessor. On the one hand, Defying Gravity includes everything that makes Mr. Big such a lovable band; ridiculous musicianship underpinning excellently written songs, with superb hooks and melodies scattered throughout. There's the usual ballads in Forever And Back and She's All Coming Back To Me Now, while Mean To Me features the usual furious playing that's expected from guitarist Paul Gilbert and bassist Billy Sheehan. In terms of some of the highlights, the title track itself offers an interesting riff and a huge chorus, while Everybody Needs A Little Trouble is a deep, grooving track, in which Sheehan's growling bass really shines. It's a shift in gear from what might be expected of Mr. Big, yet the result is one of the best tracks on the album. 1992 on the other hand is classic Mr. Big, and sounds as though it could have been pulled from Lean into It or Bump Ahead. Unfortunately, despite the fact that Defying Gravity contains some diverse and quality material, it's let down by its rough sounding production. The mix of the album leans more towards 'unfinished' than 'raw', and results in the entire record sound a little rushed. Similarly, while interesting upon first listen, tracks like Nothing Bad ('Bout Feeling Good) and Damn I'm In Love Again could arguably have been replaced with more adventurous rock numbers. In general, it feels as though Defying Gravity could have been an excellent album with a little more work, as opposed to the half-good, half-forgettable album it turned out to be. Nevertheless, the musicianship on show throughout the album is enough to warrant a purchase. Be it Gilbert, Sheehan, singer Eric Martin or the excellent playing that both drummers Pay Torpey (unable to perform on all songs due to his Parkinson's Disease) and Matt Starr provide, the musical interplay is expectedly outstanding. In this respect, Defying Gravity still manages to live up to the standard of Mr. Big, it's just a shame that it's not the classic it could have been.

Written by James Abel
More: 2017, Albums, Hard/Heavy Rock, Quickplay Reviews, ,

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