Michael Monroe - Blackout States

Michael Monroe Blackout States cover
Michael Monroe
Blackout States
Spinefarm Records
Got to love a guy like Michael Monroe, he was a king with Hanoi Rocks, getting copied by the whole LA scene, while having a helluva time. Hanoi’s return was well received and whatever he’s done outside them, be it solo albums or collaborations, has generally been quite well received and quite original.
On his tenth solo album, two years after the well-received “Horns and Halos”, things are pretty much as you’d expect or would like to remember them, Monroe just blares out over some gutsy spunky rock ‘n roll hymns that many times feel biographical.
Opener “This Ain’t No Love Song” mixes equal parts Pistols and Billy Idol in something that wouldn’t feel out of place in “Demolition 23” so to speak…
“Old King’s Road” is more typical Monroe, more melodic, still maintaining some punk urgency but crossing it all with healthy doses of melody.
“Going Down with the Ship” is quirkier and cheekier with a bittersweet melodic lead and an almost shanty line chorus…
“Keep Your Eye on You” is even more introspective and mellower, almost quiet, by comparison to most of the other songs on the album, but that’s hardly a complain, since it has its own character and charm that carry it through.
“The Bastard’s Bash” is pretty sneering and punky and almost sounds like some Sex Pistols lost nugget...
“Good Old Bad Days” is a bit more in the veins of mid/late Hanoi Rocks and makes a welcome change from the skiddier songs that precede it. It even has a neat sax solo in the great tradition of so many other tunes… hahaha. More people should adapt the damn thing, I tell ya.
“R.F.L” has this charming chorus… “Rock Like Fuck, Rock Like Fuck, Fuck Shit Up, and Rock Like Fuck” and a matching musical backbone and it just rocking like a motherfucker! Haha
“Blackout States” takes a step back and sounds a lot more reflective and contemplative, a lot slower and mellower.
“Under the Northern Lights” begins like a folk inspired Rolling Stones number, only to go Monroes way, around @ 0:33 when it turns into a proper rock ‘n roll, anthem, only to roll back ever so slightly during the chorus. Great tune and Michael and his boys seem capable of always finding new ways to breathe new life to some well-established concepts and thus positively surprise and startle us…
“Permanent Youth” seems to be deeply autobiographical and thru its paradoxically optimist chorus verse that contrasts some bittersweet melodies during its normal ones, manages to be yet another excellent staple that doesn’t have to try hard to be likable, it does so with grace…
I must say that “Dead Hearts on Denmark Street” has a bit of a bizarre title, but then I remembered that that was the alias of “Tin Pan Alley” (because everything sounds better if you make it sound like NY) a small musical mecca, in the 50s and 60 – but even up to the early 90s that was the host of many venues studio and music biz offices. All that changed last year, when despite a plea signed by 24.000 people, 12 Bar Club was not spared from the plans for re-development which inevitably begun during the spring of 15.
Last but not least, “Six Feet in the Ground” has all the charm of Monroe’s previous outings, but mixes it with a bit of Americana… in a pretty funky way… Nice!
Monroe keeps delivering time after time… and that’s one more reason to like the guy… he hardly ever disappoints…