And I ain't been to sleep
My heart's beating restless
My thoughts are running deep
I'm trying to call you, cry to your machine
I can't get no answer and I know what that means
You say that I don't love you
You know that's a lie
I'm always thinking of you
You know that I would die
Without your love"
One Word Review: Fazed
After the 1985 album, which was more or less a collection of old but amazing demos, Tweaked provided the next step in the evolution of Enuff Z'nuff. This time, the troublesome times the band was going through clearly shone through in the lyrics, making for a moodier and altogether darker affair. The band's amazing hooks and ear for melodies is still intact and many of the songs on the album are real gems that age like a red wine that never seems to peak.
Guitarist Derek Frigo (R.I.P.) had left the band and Gino Martino had stepped up to the rather impossible task of following him. The guitar work on the album is very good and has many small nuances that add to the songs, but it lacks that unique fire that Derek Frigo had. Frigo's lead guitar can still be heard on Style and Has Jesus closed his eyes.
Tweaked also started the "ugly cover"-syndrome that has plagued the band often since. This one is very ugly indeed.
I wouldn't call Tweaked a concept album, but the songs feel connected and give the album a complete feel. The way they have been organized is all part of the puzzle. The songs share themes and very successfully describe the circle that one can run around in, in certain parts of life. Regrets, dreams, hopes and downfalls are all covered with love being a common connection point.
It doesn't feel as if any single song could have been left out without creating a hole. That doesn't mean that every song is of the same quality, and it is a mixed bag, but overall it is a great album, which has a feel to it that is hard to shake.
There is a very relaxed groove running through the album, yet it still feels focused. The dry production is part of what gives the album its very special vibe. Chip's cool bass work and Ricky's steady, tight drumming are of course integral elements as well. Focus on the bass work in a song like Has Jesus closed his eyes to get an idea of what I mean.
The ultra melodic Stoned opens the album in the most appealing way. The often tribal-like percussion, along with the floating feel the bass line provides, sets the atmosphere and soon you will find yourself high on a good thing. It goes without saying, but the chorus is made of very sticky ear candy.
The least interesting songs on the albums are also the three simplest. Chip singing lead vocals on the groovy Bullet From a Gun with Donnie adding some excellent harmonies can't save it from a rather monotone feel. Life is Strange is another song that doesn't meet the high Z'nuff quality. Perhaps it was a conscious move to make a song as pointless as this one. Style is the best of this three-piece with a strong atmosphere and a great guitar solo.
The rest of the songs are all small gems.
Mr. Jones was an instant favorite of mine and it is possibly as addictive as the subject it describes. Donnie's performance is completely convincing, while the guitar notes add a certain amount of confusion to the whole song.
My dear dream is a brilliant song. Moody, emotional and upbeat as the song goes through several phases both musically and lyrically, returning back at the starting point in the end. It is slightly Queen inspired in a way. The song very well describes the feeling of blinding yourself by longing for something that doesn't exist.
Without your love is a wonderful bluesy ballad and one of the songs that grows in time. The bridge section in particular is a highlight and the agonized way Donnie Vie sings the song really brings out the emotion. A personal favorite for sure.
We're all allright is a live favorite and has earned the nickname "Viking pogo song (Hello Miffo)". It is the most positive song here, with a strong drive and a striking chorus you can't help but sing along to.
It's too late has a superbly catchy chorus and the band knows it. In the end it is repeated perhaps a little too endlessly, but somehow it doesn't tire me out. It is the small touches that change with each repetition that does it. The final chorus with just a piano and Donnie's voice nails it. The song is still a pleasure after all these years, a classic ballad. Some of the band's tongue in cheek humor and self irony that is often overlooked or misunderstood is apparent in the lyrics of the song which end with "Repeat chorus... Many times".
If I can't have you is an excellent love song with some very relatable lyrics, If you get caught up in the aftermath of the song, which is in no way much fun, then you should return to Without your love.
Has Jesus closed his eyes is a good example of how Chip and Donnie's special vocal harmonies enhance a song in an incredible way. The following excerpt from the song describes the essence of the band quite well:
So hoping you'll enjoy
Just what life brings to you
Oh and try not to destroy
The hearts you know are true
Try to keep in mind that we all are one
Right down to the line we'll all be the same
Black and white who cares what it's done
It's just a waste of time playin' color games
In My Heroin (If you happen to be from France the pronunciation must rhyme with groin. (Hello Fabrice!)) Chip grabs the mike again and this time with much greater success. The psychedelic vibe fits his deep voice very well. The song has a dusty, western feel to it.
How am I supposed to write a love song is built on a strong but familiar riff. Donnie Vie puts on another blinding performance and the line "Why's my head so full of doubt? And my heart so full of you..." sums it up very well.
Tweaked is a highly impressive album and though it might not get to you right away, give it a chance and suddenly you will find yourself addicted to its atmosphere, strange warmth and overall mood. It is a long lasting little gem that never ceases to evoke certain emotions.
Written By Steen
Online: Sunday, December 20, 2015
Bullet From a Gun