Review Summary: Giving Up The Ghost is filled to the brim with tasty riffs, rock and roll, and loads of potential.
When I first listened to Jackie Greene's new album, Giving Up The Ghost,
the first thought to enter into my mind was that this album would be considered in a few years to be one of the "classics" of this generation. After more and more listens I realized that statement is probably a bit of an overstatement, but that still had a portion of truth linked to it. While this album probably won't be as monumental as I once thought, it definitely shows promise and gives me high hopes that his next piece of work might very well live up to that expectation. To call Jackie a superstar is again a bit of an overstatement, with a beacon of truth attached at the center. A little bit of research will show comparisons to legends among the likes of Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen. As well as an incredible repertoire of artists he's shared the stage with; B.B. King, Huey Lewis, and Buddy Guy to name a few. He is not however selling millions of albums or filling out stadiums on a daily basis thus negating superstar status.
Giving Up The Ghost
isn't just a straightforward rock album, it's much more than that. It sounds like what would happen if you were to combine IV
and Highway 61 Revisited
with a modern rock touch. Extremely folky and coutry-ish yet it still packs the punch of Led Zeppelin. This album is filled with catchy hooks and tight playing. Almost every chorus is memorable in one way or another, and the verses follow. Thankfully however this album doesn't come off as repetitive or as bland pop bull***. Much of the time he's playing electric guitar overdubbed with acoustic guitar which adds a nice earthy and western feel to the songs. The harmonica and keyboards also make for very cool effects. Especially since they are used in the background and not as frontal instruments.
Lyrically Jackie has some great moments, but tends to fall into the cliches of many other artists. For example, Uphill Mountain
is full of flavorless sections including, I don't know but I been told/ You'll never grow up and you'll never get old
and Stand tall if you're gonna stand at all/ And if you're gonna fall well you might as well fall
is another example of this. On the other hand, Don't Let The Devil Take Your Mind
is a really fun and original song. Well they say don't look for heroes, if you don't care who you find/ All roads lead to somewhere, although the horse is blind/ There's one thing I can say for sure/ You can go through hell and come out pure, if you just don't let the devil take your mind
. The majority of the lyrics fall in between these. More often leaning towards unoriginal than outstanding.
Giving up The Ghost
shows an incredibly amount of potential. His songwriting is really starting to mature, and his ideas are being conveyed much better than on previous albums. When I listen to songs though I still get the feeling that he's holding back. After hearing him wail on almost every song live and then listening to this, it's disappointing to say the least. Not to say that his solos are lame, they sound very fitting and well thought out. It just seems like they are cut short and played safe, but I'll take short and sweet over long and drawn out any day so it's not a massive problem. It's not as if they detract from the album much, they just don't add an huge amount. I guess we'll just have to wait and see what becomes of his next album to see if he goes anywhere with this abundance of potential, and I say this in the most optimistic of tones.
- Don't Let The Devil Take Your Mind
- Like A Ball And Chain