Mother Love Bone
Apple


4.5
superb

Review

by Glueman USER (3 Reviews)
December 18th, 2006 | 40 replies


Release Date: 1990 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Forever destined to be in Pearl Jam's shadow, Andrew Wood, Seattle's great lost hope showed his unique brand of glam-grunge on this classic album.

It is a sad truth when discussing the Seattle "Grunge" scene of the mid-80s to early 90s that most people will immediately think of Nirvana, possibly Pearl Jam and, in exceptional cases, Alice in Chains. It is less likely however that anyone will think of Mother Love Bone, Seattle's great lost hopes. The old adage of "what could have been" has never really been more relevant for a band. Having been courted by every major record label from Geffen to Polygram, Mother Love Bone signed with the latter and were set to be huge. Geffen had clearly seen the opportunity to market the band as the next Guns n' Roses (ironic considering MLB's place in the grunge history). When tragedy struck and the band's enigmatic frontman, Andrew Wood, died of a heroin overdose at the age of 24 the band had only an EP and one newly recorded, yet-to-be released long-player to their name. The world moved on and guitarist Stone Gossard and bassist Jeff Ament went on to take on the world with Pearl Jam when Nevermind brought Seattle to the attention of the world.

It would be easy to write Mother Love Bone off as a footnote at the bottom of Pearl Jam's history, but this would ignore the fact that, in their 3 years together, Mother Love Bone made some of the most unique music in rock history. That seems like a bold statement considering how easily recognisable the influences on this album are. Led Zeppelin, Queen, Guns n' Roses and T-Rex are all apparent when listening to these twelve songs. What makes Apple unique is Andrew Wood. It is certainly a cliche, but one that is well-founded, to say that some people are born to be a star. Andrew Wood was one of these people. He believed it, even if no one else did. There is something absolutely irresistable in hard-rocking songs such as Holy Roller, Come bite the apple and This is Shangri-la. Stone Gossard's stadium rock riffs and Bruce Fairweather's wailing blues solos are perhaps unusual for a "grunge" band (or at least if your knowledge of grunge extends as far as Nirvana) but they are certainly catchy enough to warrant further listens; something which opens up Apple's real side.

Aside from Wood's humorous lyrics and the band's bombastic glam-rock sound there was another side to Mother Love Bone. Songs such as Bone China, Stargazer and Crown of Thorns showcase a rare quality of the band, that is, that they could make what are essentially power ballads without being remotely superficial or "cheesy", something most rock bands in the late 80s found difficult to achieve. Hints at Wood's battle with drugs are evident throughout the record, the title itself being a euphemism for heroin. Crown of Thorns, the record's closing track and Wood's masterpiece, serves as a kind of suicide note for the singer. Lines like "Life is what you make it, and if you make it death, well rest your soul away" show a darker side to this flamboyant, camp showman with a Freddy Mercury fixation. By the time the album fades out with Wood and Fairweather trading vocal and guitar lines it is obvious that Apple is a special album. Dated? Perhaps. Flawed? Certainly, but what is important is that the album is listened to. Andrew Wood should not be forgotten. Even if the only memorial is that Pearl Jam regularly cover Crown of Thorns in concert in tribute to Wood, it is enough to know that the band didn't die with him.


user ratings (129)
Chart.
4
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Oddsen
December 18th 2006


1127 Comments


Excellent review. I hope to hear some of this one day.

MrKite
December 18th 2006


5020 Comments


I have heard some of this bands stuff. It's pretty good. The onnly grunge band I have ehard that I don't like though is Silverchair.

Layne2thorns
December 20th 2006


4 Comments


Mother love bone is the definition of grunge. an indirect sound with a foggy meaning for those who have the nerve to actually listen. wood sounds like an angrier version of janes addiction frontman, with an abstract guitar/bass harmonization, the first of it's kind. Crown of thorns was the first song that i heard that i could classify as a masterpiece of the grunge scene.

Yield
May 5th 2007


626 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Mother Love Bone is awesome.

TheSpirit
October 29th 2009


18002 Comments


totally underrated.

Digging: The Speed of Sound in Seawater - Red Version

shindip
October 29th 2009


3536 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

awesome album. the riff of this is shangrila is so sick

TheSpirit
October 29th 2009


18002 Comments


Yeah, it is. This band could've gone so far if their singer didnt die.

CrazyFool84
July 22nd 2010


1081 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Love Woods piano playin', wish this dude could've laid off the smack a lil' while longer

Flynn
March 8th 2012


44 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Love this album, never gets old. Just imagine what they could have done after this...

Inveigh
June 23rd 2012


25209 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

this is so close to classic

Digging: Nero Di Marte - Derivae

Inveigh
June 23rd 2012


25209 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

god damn this needs more love

kingsoby1
Emeritus
June 23rd 2012


4957 Comments


Haven'T heard it


Inveigh
June 23rd 2012


25209 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

you should check it out man, not sure how exactly I'd describe it. there's definitely bits of GnR, 80s Faith No More and Chili Peppers plus the early Soundgarden/Pearl Jam grunge sound.

Inveigh
June 30th 2012


25209 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

thread still needs more comments, album needs more ratings

Spag
July 17th 2012


1845 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Just a great debut. This Is Shangrila is quite the album opener

Digging: Power of Omens - Rooms of Anguish

Inveigh
July 27th 2012


25209 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

hell yeah m/

Weesnaw
August 5th 2012


450 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this album rocks so hard

brippity
August 8th 2012


1 Comments


this band was terrible


Spag
August 9th 2012


1845 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

^ You suck.

Weesnaw
August 9th 2012


450 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

dude no this rules, you must've been a failed abortion



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