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La Futura
Format: Audio CDChange
Price:$6.63+Free shipping with Amazon Prime
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
I have said to my music friends that it is hard for the older groups still making music to actually continue to make good music. ZZ Top falls into this category. They have been around forever (I started listening to them in 1974). My expectations were low upon buying the cd (had to have it though as I am a fan). I did buy it rather quickly after it came out. I was interested in the content as I knew that Rick Rubin was producing - I was hoping the results would be similiar to what Frank Zappa did with Grand Funk's Good Singin', Good Playin'.

Upon first listen I was not impressed. However, this can sometimes be a sign of good things to come. Sure enough the cd began to grow on me. It has the ZZ rawness that we have come to expect. Yes, it does have some of the worn out lead licks from Billy. Speaking of Billy, this guy has still got it. Saw ZZ this summer and he is as good as he has ever been (shows seem to be getting shorter and shorter however).

The songs became more catchy and interesting the more I listened to it. Some have complained about the brevity of the cd (10 songs) but I like it in that most of the songs are good with some even being strong.

The cd can't really touch the early classic cds but that is almost to be expected. I would like to see the tour supporting the cd. Songs like I Gotsta Get Paid, Chartreuse, and Have a Little Mercy would fit well with their better known songs.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 22, 2013
I've been listening to these guys for more than forty years and must say that this is one of their better efforts. ZZ Top records always sound like ZZ Top but some seem to "have it" and some don't. This album feels more like it "has it" than not, both in the songwriting and performance departments. Besides, it has been so long since there has been new ZZT anybody who basically likes this band will like this in a big way.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on October 19, 2012
This sends you right back to the first two ZZ Top albums! Great guitar riffs, Texas boogie to the Max.! Reminds me of what brought me to these guys in the first place! Welcome back Billy, Dusty and Frank! Awesome CD! Oh, Baby! (Do it again!)
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on September 12, 2012
Each track is a gem within itself and Billy Gibbons tone is raunchier than ever and the stretched out jams are just fabulous. This is some really good ZZ...like the previous reviewer states go for the Best Buy limited edition as the two additional tracks are quite stellar!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on December 2, 2012
Best album in a long time. Much better than Mescalero.
Iwould recommend to all ZZ Top fans Who liked Eliminator and Afterburner.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on October 25, 2012
The boys from Texas never cease to amaze and impress me. This collection of tunes is no exception. If you smokin' Southern Blues and Boogie, add THIS to your collection.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 18, 2013
Rick Rubin seems to help some artists more than others. He helped here with ZZ Top. This whole collection is fiery and raw, the kind of sound that fueled the ZZ Top albums of the seventies that had us all playing air guitar. There's not a weak song in the bunch but the style mix no doubt will have listeners thinking some songs are better than others. Nothing unusual there.

Some have complained about the over-compressed mix. So I compared the vinyl version and the MP3 version. There's no doubt the MP3 version sounds compressed. Of course, most modern music is over-compressed because of the volume wars. (I can't listen to Black Eyed Peas for more than 10 minutes because the volume is so relentlessly high at all times.)

The vinyl, on the other hand, is lively, with lots of dynamic range and transients. I can clearly hear Billy's shredded cords of the 'I've been drinking whiskey and smoking' kind, and clicks on guitar strings and studio sounds. I wonder if the mastering was different for vinyl; frankly it sounds awesome. Billy's guitar stands out so clearly it's like his amp is in my room.

One note: the vinyl is an audiophile-quality 180 gram pressing, but it's actually a 45 RPM album! There's a new one for me. It's two albums with about three songs on each side. I did not notice the 45-RPM feature and it sounded mighty weird at 33. Fortunately my turntable's belt can be moved to a different setting for 45 speed. But buyer beware on this one. Folks with 33 RPM only turntables are out of luck.

UPDATE: I listened to the full vinyl album and I think it represents a state of the art for quality sound. Kudos to Rick Rubin and the mastering team for this one. Every instrument stands out clearly on a wide sound stage, nothing muddled.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon October 12, 2012
All right, all right, so it sounded good on paper--Rick Rubin with ZZ Top, but you can't always hit the ball out of the park every time. Rick Rubin did nothing for ZZ Top here. In fact, it just sounds like ZZ Top. I can't even tell that Rick Rubin worked on this album. Also, ZZ Top have finally made an album lacking in wit, innovation and adventure. Say what you must about "Mescalero", but you can't argue that of the 17 tracks there was a whole lot of experimentation on that album at least. Here, there's nothing but a band revisiting their 70's roots.

I listened to all of ZZ Top's albums in sequential order prior to listening to "La Futura", and those reviewers who are telling you that the band has not, in fact, gone back to their roots are lying. They have. They totally sound like their 70's selves here. But, there's nothing new here. No twists, no turns, no hooks, really. Now let's address a few things here: 1. The loudness war--well I'm tired of people complaining about it. Yes, it exists, but it's never 'ruined' any album for me where the volume is cranked up. I don't care, you hear me. So stop complaining about it. 2. 36 minutes in length. You know what, that's how long their 70's albums were!!! So, once again, stop complaining about the length of the album. 36 minutes is the perfect length. Some of their previous albums, namely "Mescalero", "Rhythmeen" and "Antenna" were over-long bloated affairs, and they could have each been trimmed down for the better. 3. Rick Rubin. Well, it's not his fault the boys are out of ideas now is it? I mean, who's idea was it to set blues to new wave syncopated drum machines and rhythms? Bill Ham? No, it was Billy Gibbons, and so, it is Billy Gibbons that I blame for being uninspired this time around.

And so we arrive at "La Futura's" songs. Well, there isn't much to say is there? I mean it sounds like ZZ Top, and there are no radio hits here at all. Nothing. If you pressed me hard I would say that "I Gotsa Get Paid", "Chartreuse", "Consumption" and "Flyin' High" are the best tracks here, but that's not saying much. So why three stars then and not one star?

Well, first, I have liked ZZ Top since I was 10 years old in 1983. They left an impression on me at that age with their videos on MTV, and it wasn't until 1985's "Afterburner" that I bought an album from them, and I've never looked back. For better or worse. Now you can criticize "Afterburner" and "Eliminator", but the simple fact is that Billy Gibbons was genius then for taking the blues and setting it to New Wave music. Genius I tell you. Unfortunately, he got trapped in that box.

Now, there is a track on "La Futura" that has a coda in it that could have been a great song and a new musical direction for the band that might have spruced them up a bit. The track is "It's Too Easy Manana". At the end, the boys suddenly grab this funky little jam and then it's all over too soon. I kept thinking, "This is where they needed to go here. Something innovative--the blues set to funk. The boys have flirted with this over the years, but they've never given it its due."

So, in retrospect, it might have been more interesting if the boys had gone with a different producer--maybe one less obvious--like Timbaland, or Kid Rock, or heck, let's get all experimental and go with Brian Eno or Daniel Lanois. Hell, I bet even Trent Reznor would have made for an interesting collaboration.

So, there is one point I agree with that others have made: 9 years for this??? I agree. Way too long, for way too little. Should the boys retire? Hmmm, well, no. Here's why: The blues only gets better with age. I'm really liking Billy Gibbons rough croak of a voice now. I think it lends to the bluesy authenticity. He no longer has to fake it now. The trick for ZZ Top is to find a new muse, and Rick Rubin wasn't it. That's okay. "La Futura" isn't bad, it just isn't refreshing.

Here's how "La Futura" compares with previous ZZ Top albums:

1971 ZZ Top's First Album: Three Stars
1972 Rio Grande Mud: Three and a Half Stars
1973 Tres Hombres: Five Stars
1975 Fandango!: Three Stars
1976 Tejas: Five Stars
1979 Deguello: Four Stars
1981 El Loco: Three Stars
1983 Eliminator: Five Stars
1985 Afterburner: Five Stars
1990 Recycler: Three and a Half Stars
1994 Antenna: Three Stars
1996 Rhythmeen: Three and a Half Stars
1999 XXX: Three Stars
2003 Mescalero: Three and a Half Stars
2012 La Futura: Three Stars
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on October 5, 2012
Reading these interviews makes me realise that Top can now never make an album that satisfies even the bulk of listeners. To do that it would need to sound like the First Album, Tres Hombres, and Eliminator all at the same time.

For me though, well I'm largely out there on my own. Twist my arm and I'd rate my favourite Top albums as Tres Hombres, El Loco, and Mescalero.

The sound of La Futura kinda started with XXX, and progressed through Mescalero. Whatever you think of these three albums, they all start with a blistering, dirty, dirty guitar sound, which then resurfaces intermittently across the albums.

Song choice is typically varied. I'd thank Rick Rubin for that, but really, that's what ZZ Top do anyway. Though Flyin' High does sound an awful lot like an AC/DC number....

I don't think La Futura, good though it is, tops Mescalero though. My reasons are:

- Patchy songs. While songs like Gotsta Get Paid and Heartache in Blue are fantastic, gritty numbers, "soft" tracks like Over You really are over me, and some seem comparatively ordinary, like It's Too Easy Mañana.
- This is a short album in the post CD era. Just under 40 min for the 10 track around 46 min with bonus tracks. In other words the pool of tracks is smaller to start with.

Now my techy assessment.

The album sounds to be well recorded and mixed, but unfortunately is mastered by Vlado "Destroyer of Music" Meller. Rick Rubin likes the Destroyer, which surprises me. I'd have thought Rick would know compressing the *%!& out of music just for first hearing impact is pretty lame. And the Destroyer went to town on this album.

So compressed is it the levels are right up there with that much criticised Metallica "Death Magnetic" CD. The only good news is unlike that Metallica train wreck, somehow La Futura only sounds badly hurt, not fatally wounded.

Oh well, maybe the vinyl will, as the vinyl sometimes does, get mastered by someone who actually likes music. (update - the vinyl is two 45rpm discs of the 10 track album. Mastered by The Destroyer, it is heavily compressed, but no where near as bad as the CD, which is probably why it DOES sound better. PLEEEEAAASSSEEEE dump Rubin, dump Vlado, get someone who cares what the music sounds like!)

A final grumble - what sort of rip-off is allowing one retail chain to have extra tracks? That's money first, screw the fans marketing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This is my favorite ZZ album since 1981's "El Loco". Also, if you're reading this to see if you should buy this album make sure you find the Best Buy version with the 2 extra songs (a total of 12 songs, NOT 10) as the 2 extra songs are AMAZING!!

The album starts out with a crazy idea....a remake of a crunk rap song called "Gotsta Get Paid". Do yourself a favor and track the original version down on youtube and you'll see how amazing ZZ is, it sounds NOTHING like the original song, it sounds like a classic ZZ song with an azming riff by the Rev and the boys!!

My favorite song on the disc might be "Flyin' High", a song Billy Gibbons wrote about whatever woman he's in love with at the moment, lol.

The song "Big Shiny Nine" was almost held off the album because the rest of the band wasn't sure if Billy should be singing about a handgun right about now, but Rick Rubin voted it on and I'm glad he did. It's NOT a song about killing somebody or robbing a store, it's a ZZ song!!

Anyways, I'm NOT going to give a meltdown about every song bc I know you don't care, anyways, just buy the disc and give it a spin, you'll love it. I've had it since the day it came out and I still listen to it at least once a week.

Cheers!!
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