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Don't care what you're into you should own this! - 98%

Seducerofsouls85, June 20th, 2011

This album brings back so many nostalgic memories for me it is unreal. Now I know people argue whether Thin Lizzy are metal or rock or borderline, but as they are here on the metal archives, I thought I should review their shit. I was listening to Thin Lizzy before I was seriously into metal, I mean Venom would have probably made me shit my pants at this point if I'm being honest, just to give you an idea of how uninitiated I was. At the time I was listening to stuff which definitely would not give me much cred on the MA, such as Cheap Trick, Aerosmith, Van Halen, Boston, KISS, Led Zeppelin, Queen and a bit of Hanoi Rocks I think. I was a year off of thirteen, and I was still hung up on my 70's rock heroes which I was too young to actually experience first hand at the time, so I was kind of delving back into the prior decade digging up gems which I required from the "classic" era. My points of view on the subject of what actually is and isn't classic from 70's hard rock, have changed dramatically over the years. But I can say with ease Thin Lizzy's "Johnny the fox" is as classic as any album in my collection, I wouldn't consider it a metal classic, but enough about the genre of this damned thing already! When this came out Thin Lizzy were already established with other rock defining classics such as "Fighting", "Vagabonds of the western world", "Jailbreak" and to a lesser extent "Nightlife". But after the release of "Jailbreak" (I think this was their most commercially successful, but they had a resurgance in popularity in the early 80's so I don't know.), they decided to strip things back a little. I can hardly call the predessecor watered down to cater the needs of the radio, as much rock from the era was just written this way, even the most obscured bands who were underground would still sound "soft" or "infectious" compared to much of today's undercurrent.

So what is it about this thing I just like so much? It is catchy but still retains that dangerous attitude rock was primarily about and still should be. Even though it is jolly in places, I can still picture Phil Lynott in some hotel room passed out next to an empty whisky bottle, or down town in some hot shot club in Hollywood downing shots of J├Ąger with acquaintances from bands like Rainbow or Led Zeppelin. It is a glimpse of a lifestyle most of us could never have, the life we try and live up to on a weekend, but find ourselves semi-crouched over a toilet puking involuntarily, regretting that last beverage which clearly had trouble going down smoothly. Not to say this album is excessive and bloated, nor is it a pressure cooker like Guns N' Roses "Appetite for destruction". Hey it might even just be my over active imagination, but this album is a stream lined product of attitude perfected. The first two tracks "Johnny" and "Rockey" have some great riffs from beginning to end, and are perfect album starters as they have hooked you, and even if it was all downhill from this point on, you would persevere and listen any way. Thankfully it only gets better. "Borderline" and "Old flame" are ballads which are quite impressive in execution. Phil emits an almost macho sadness on these two tracks, and it annoys me that there are some who would call this emo. Call this emo, I fucking dare you! "Don't believe a word" is one of Thin Lizzy's most recognisable songs, and a live favourite for many years and rightly so. I actually have heard an alternate version to this, I think it is the original version which is more slow in pace, and just as good! Check it out on youtube, because I don't know what your chances of finding a physical copy are. "Massacre" has an infectious plodding chorus and "Fool's gold" has quite a heartwarming effect, but at the same time doesn't verge on cheese. "Johnny the fox meets Jimmy the weed", has a kind of funky dance vibe about it, but Phil's charisma more than redeems this track, it makes it one of the best on offer here! I'm glad I don't take myself serious enough, to not admit enjoying this song.

It almost seems bizarre that a couple of months after listening to this album, I would make a descent into metal madness, which would disturb my parents and change my outlook on the last wave of rock leading up to metal. However nothing that has passed, be it pioneering or just trend, has hindered my views on this album. It is just ace, and even though I love it so much, I'm having trouble finding reasonable words to plead my case as it were. Some here would consider this inferior. The moment I consider this inferior should be the day you should just shoot me. Honestly, if it happens just blow my fucking head right off, and spare me from the herd and the worker bees and the purists.