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That’s the easiest way I can sum it up in that title. “The Rocker” was a bold move on the band’s part, while “Here I Go Again” is back to the same Americana jig that’s interesting but boring at the same time. If I’m correct, this is the last Thin Lizzy release to feature Eric Bell (featured on the cover art, too), with Lynott sporting that unmistakable moustache and Downey rid of his ugly moustache. Got to remember now that Bell wanted to play stuff like “Here I Go Again” while Lynott wanted more like “The Rocker”. As long as he was getting paid, I think Downey also preferred testing his skills at the same time, and “Here I Go Again” wasn’t going to do that for him.
From the start, Bell lets loose everything he’s saved up since the debut album on the intro riff, which is the hard rock flare that’d be the norm for Lizzy’s sound on the coming albums. Lynott is yelling and shouting, with a twang in his voice on some lines reminding me of Glenn Danzig. Otherwise, it’s Lynott testing his storytelling skills while letting the bass glide and guitar push the song forward into faster territory. Downey is behind both, crashing loudly and maintaining a bouncy beat; all three find a rendezvous point during the solo, which is hot fire for Bell from here on out.
The second track appears on Vagabonds Of The Western World as a bonus with a bunch of other bonus tracks from the singles around this time, but it’s probably the lamest of the bunch. By Lizzy’s standards it isn’t anything special – just a slow American folk / country tune dragging by the heels of the rhythm. It’s essentially Lynott exercising his vocals, which are clear and lovely, but not compelling or soulful. The bass is fat and louder than the pinchy guitars, which slip and slide in front of Downey’s very pale tick-tick drum performance – he’s literally just keeping rhythm for the hell of it.
To me, this single is good for historical purposes. One track is the direction to come, and the second is one for the past; at this point, the latter is in the wrong territory. The next album wouldn’t exactly increase the heaviness, but it’d be the start of something great. A firm line-up would be established, and Lizzy’s well-known sound would begin to work wonders. Lynott himself would break out and take control, too, and that’s where the charm kicks in.