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Thin Lizzy's "Nightlife" is often underappreciated or overlooked, due to the fact it lacks in the hard rock aesthetic of other albums, or the straight up heavy metal deliverance of their 80's albums. But to say they hadn't quite found their sound would probably be quite an ignorant thing for me to say, as I always found their earlier albums quite experimental at times leaning toward the psychedelic. There is no denying that this is quite a soft album, but it works because it is just so cool and calculated. It is like going on a night out on the town, with that friend who has a lot of knowledge for his years, who gambles and drinks but never loses that magnetic aura. I have always appreciated Phil Lynott as a lyricist, and I think most metal heads appreciate Thin Lizzy's contribution in the realm of rock/metal, Vader even covered one of their songs from the "Renegade" album. Every Thin Lizzy album is a reflection of Phil's life and experiences in some way or another, and that is still the case here but it is always obtainable, you can always connect with the lyrics and exchange war stories so to speak. I was too young to listen to this album at the time of it's release, seeing it wasn't until the early 80's when I got into rock and metal, but the moment I heard this album, it already sounded timeless and you know what? You may refer to this as having Thin Lizzy's weaker songs, but even if that is true, their weaker songs are better than most bands great songs.
Phil's vocals are a bit more lucid on this album, he seems to compliment every chorus or tempo change without any difficulty. This is a man who knows what he is doing with his words, he knows how to portray them, he knows how they MUST be perceived. His years writing and enjoying poetry surely pay off, and had any other band wrote this album from the era, we might just be pretending it never happened. Thin Lizzy have that magic to experiment, and still come out richer for it, even if they would never release another album that sounded like "Nightlife". There are a couple of ballads on here, and if there is one thing I know for certain is that Thin Lizzy write a good ballad. "She knows" is probably more uplifting, where as the tear jerker "Frankie Carroll" might hit home a little too hard for some people's comfort. "Show down" is stream lined and funky, without making one cringe over what was considered "hip" in the 1970's, and Phil's vocals seem to remain exciting even when they are almost restrained. Honestly if any other singer had done this, they would not be getting away with it, this review would be tearing them to fucking pieces, but no Phil had a powerful understanding of the impact of the spoken word. "Still in love with you" is drenched in the somber bluesy scales, and if you're not a fan of this style maybe one should steer clear, but the soloing and vocal performance leave my jaw on the floor. Raw emotion is not gay...hissy fits and breakdowns of the likes of Bring Me The Horizon are gay however. "It's only money" and "Nightlife" aren't gripping affairs like "Cold sweat" or "Rockey", but still very good in their own right.
I appreciate that people have different opinions and different tastes. If you prefer heavy metal then skip to "Thunder and lightning" but if you can stomach anything less heavy than "Bad reputation" or "Jailbreak" but with the same capable song writing, then I would strongly recommend you check out "Nightlife". And if it just isn't heavy enough for your friends, let them miss out and just listen to it on the ride to work or something.