Friday, March 7, 2014

Stan BUSH: ”The Ultimate”

Rating: RRRR
Label: MelodicRock Records 2014
Review by Kimmo Toivonen

AOR cult hero Stan Bush returns with an album that he calls "The Ultimate". A big title to live up to and while I don't think it's necessarily "the ultimate Stan Bush album", it's certainly very good. Sure it's AOR by numbers, but I happen to like these numbers! Most of the songs have a very strong "80'ies Action Movie Soundtrack"-vibe, the lyrics are uplifting and empowering and the choruses are the kind of stuff that one will HAVE to sing with fists clenched. In addition to the power rockers, of course Stan throws in a few of his trademark ballads.

There's plenty of good stuff on this album, but I'll mention some of the highlights: the Survivor-like "Stand In The Fire" is one of the "action movie songs", as is "Heat Of The Battle", both the kind of songs that would have been perfect for the soundtracks of Rocky IV or Top Gun. "Thunder In Your Heart" IS actually a song from an 80'ies movie ("RAD " 1986), originally recorded by John Farnham, now updated by Stan. It's still a powerful song, with massive keyboard hits giving it some extra boost. The guitars could have been more upfront though. Out of the more balladic songs my favourites are the AOR gem "The Memory Of You", which isn't really a ballad but a hauntingly beautiful midtempo song, and the more traditional ballad "If I'm Not Lovin' You". The verses do bear some similarity to those of Warrant's "Heaven", but let's not let that bother us too much...

Once again Stan has decided to include yet another version of his most well-known track "The Touch" on this album. Frankly, I could've done without "The Power Mix", it really doesn't add any power to the track. It does sound more contemporary but it's also more repetitive and duller than the original. Well, if it helps selling a few more copies of this album then I guess its' inclusion is justified.


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