Saturday, March 17, 2007

Number 647 - ZZ Top

Number 647

ZZ Top

"Sharp Dressed Man"

had reached the top of the charts before, but that didn't make their sudden popularity in 1983 any more predictable. It wasn't that they were just popular -- they were hip, for God's sake, since they were one of the only AOR favorites to figure out to harness the stylish, synthesized grooves of new wave, and then figure out how to sell it on MTV. Of course, it helped that they had songs that deserved to be hits. With "Gimme All Your Lovin'," "Sharp Dressed Man," and "Legs," they had their greatest set of singles since the heady days of Tres Hombres, and the songs that surrounded them weren't bad either -- they would have been singles on El Loco, as a matter of fact. The songs alone would have made Eliminator one of 's three greatest albums, but their embrace of synths and sequencers made it a blockbuster hit, since it was the sound of the times. Years later, the sound of the times winds up sounding a bit stiff. It's still an excellent album, one of their best, yet it sounds like a mechanized thanks to the unflaggingly accurate grooves. Then again, that's part of the album's charm -- this is new wave blues-rock, glossed up for the video, looking as good as the omnipresent convertible on the cover and sounding as irresistible as Reaganomics. Not the sort the old-school fans or blues-rock purists will love, but never sounded as much like a band of its time as they did here. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

What does Rolling Stone think about ZZ Top Hmm?
Eliminator makes ZZ Top's last album, El Loco, sound positively mellow as it harks back to the single-minded, burn-rubber days of the band's biggest successes. One could do a lot worse: drummer Frank Beard slams away as tight, hard and potent as a kicking mule, bassist Dusty Hill accompanies Beard with the kind of dirty thunks that'll loosen your back teeth, and guitarist Billy Gibbons roars through a repertoire of blues- and Hendrix-influenced licks as sharp and flashy as a pimp's wardrobe. Lyrically, the songs tell a simple story: a guy fuels up with the right food ("TV Dinners"), clothes ("Sharp Dressed Man"), car (constant references, including the album title) and attitude ("Gimme All Your Lovin'"), and heads out into the Houston night to flag down a fast woman. The next day, unfortunately, he finds out she's a shade too fast ("Bad Girl") and starts calling her names ("Dirty Dog"). Of course, one could ask for more variety, or for a more enlightened approach to courtship; one could also say it worked better in 1974 than in 1983. But when songs like "Bad Girls" and "Gimme All Your Lovin'" kick in, complaints like those start sounding pretty wimpy. Hey, bud, let's party. (RS 395) STEVE POND (Rolling Stone scraping out its bong pipe for the resin at its best) Whakaari
Rolling Stone Top 500 Songs ranked this song at Number (Would you believe, we just couldn't pick one?) and the Album ranked at Number 396
This song has a crowbarred rating of 70.6 out of 108

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