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A Good One But Not Their Best,
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This review is from: La Futura (Audio CD)
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.