Review Summary: Certainly one of the best listening experiences and the most fun I've had in the last few decades...simply a brilliant mix of some of the best classic rock, pop and metal songs of yesteryear!
OMG...where do I start? I described Rock Sugar to my friends as simply being the best Pop, Hard Rock and Metal cover band in the world. Just one quick peek at their official website and you get the feeling these guys don't take themselves too seriously, just a silly bunch of guys. But, when you play their album, you will be impressed with the musicianship, you will be impressed with the originality and prowess of the band who obviously never really got over the 80's music scene.
At a recent gathering of friends at my home, I slid this bad boy in my CD player. First reaction was, “Yeah!” “Metallica!” “Haven't heard that in a while...Yeah!” Then, when Journey's “Don't Stop Believin'” suddenly appeared I got that perplexed look on everybody's face, you know that “wtf” kinda response that I just ignored and I simply started singing along...then Metallica came back on and now I'm playing air guitar, enjoying the moment, everybody is asking me if I mixed these songs myself and I'm still ignoring their questions and by now several of my friends are totally rocking out to the music...
Needless to say, what started out as a little dinner party turned into a most exciting evening. The selection of some of the best classic pop, rock and metal songs of yesteryear and the brilliant way they are mixed make “Reimaginator” one of the best remixed albums of all time. I'll be the first to admit that I haven't listened to Metallica's “Enter Sandman” in more than a decade and I'll admit the same for Journey's “Don't Stop Believin'”, but mix “Sandman's” iconic riff with Journey's familiar tune and you've got a musical experience that you just can't get enough of. I must have listened to the album 100 times already, I just can't stop spinning it my home, in my car, in my Ipod, in fact, it has totally consumed my life and taken over as my most prized possession. Even my kids love it!
So, what am I talking about exactly?
Essentially, what Rock Sugar did was mix more than 30 classic songs into 13 tracks and called the album Reimaginator.
This type of experiment has been done before. Kid Rock did it most recently when he used samples from Lynyrd Skynyard's “Sweet Home Alabama” and Warren Zevon's “Werewolves of London” on his last album. Hip Hop has been using samples for more than a decade already. Madonna has used samples to great effect as well especially on her smash pop hit “Hung Up.” And more than a decade ago, studio session musicians from Sweden formed a band called the Black Sweden and put out a similar album in 2000 that was a rock tribute to ABBA. They essentially mixed classic rock tunes such as “Smoke on the water”, “Radar Love”, “Ballroom Blitz”, “God of Thunder”, “Ain't Talking About Love” with many of Abba's own trademark hits. But none have done it quite like Rock Sugar. This is not just sampling. This is mixing pop, rock and metal to perfection and making it work!
Aren't you curious already? Check out the band's first video here:
1.“Don’t Stop the Sandman”: “Enter Sandman” (Metallica) and “Don’t Stop Believin’” (Journey)
Yes, it's very good. 10/10
2.“We Will Kickstart Your Rhapsody”: “We Will Rock You” & “Bohemian Rhapsody” (Queen) + “Kickstart My Heart” (Mötley Crüe)
Yes, it's also very good. 10/10
3.“Crazy Girl”: “Crazy Train” (Ozzy Osbourne) + “Jessie’s Girl” (Rick Springfield)
This one is good, not as good as the opening two tracks, but good just the same. 8/10
4.“Voices in the Jungle”: “Voices Carry” ('Til Tuesday) + “Welcome to the Jungle” (Guns N' Roses)
Another very good track. 8/10
5.“Here Comes the Fool You Wanted”: “Wanted Dead or Alive” (Bon Jovi) + “Here Comes the Rain Again” & “Sweet Dreams...Are Made of This” (Eurythmics) + “Nobody’s Fool” (Cinderella)
Perhaps a little too adventurous, slowing down the pace into ballad territory may not have been the best idea, this is the only track on the album that I quickly grew tired of the mix after the second or third spin. 4/10 (one point for effort for each song...)
6.“Shook Me Like a Prayer”: “You Shook Me All Night Long” & “Hell’s Bells” (AC/DC) + “Like a Prayer” (Madonna)
OK, the band has found it's footing again, settling in what is clearly their comfort zone, very rocking moment and very solid stuff. 9/10.
7.“Straight to Rock City”: “Detroit Rock City” (KISS) + “Straight Up” (Paula Abdul)
Never would have thought it possible, but this one works wonderfully! A truly killer track. 10/10
8.“Prayin’ for a Sweet Weekend”: “Livin’ on a Prayer” (Bon Jovi) + “Working for the Weekend” (Loverboy) + “Sweet Child o’ Mine” (Guns N' Roses)
Unfortunately, upon repeated listens, the mix gets very tiring, alternating back a forth once too many times for me. 5/10
9.“Heaven and Heaven”: “Heaven” (Warrant) + “Heaven” (Bryan Adams)
The mixing of two classic ballads, works for me and really speaks for itself. 8/10
10.“Breakin’ the Love”: “Breakin’ the Law” (Judas Priest) + “I’m Not in Love” (10cc)
God I love it when the band truly rock out this way. 9/10
11.“I Love Sugar on Me”: “Pour Some Sugar on Me” (Def Leppard) + “I Love Rock 'n' Roll” (Arrows)
Yes, this one brought on another one of those WTF moments during my dinner party. I will never contemplate ever listening to these original songs any other way. 9/10
12.“Round and Separated”: “Round and Round” (Ratt) + “Separate Ways...Worlds Apart” (Journey)
Certainly one of Journey's strongest tracks but the mix doesn't work quite as good here as it does on the first track on the album. 7/10
13. “Dreaming of a Whole Lotta Breakfast”: “Dream On” (Aerosmith) + “Breakfast in America” (Supertramp) + “Whole Lotta Love” (Led Zeppelin)
A very powerful mix! 10/10
What else is there to say. The production is crisp and clean, a very polished modern rock sound. Reimaginator is a creative, technically brilliant album and hugely enjoyable from start to finish. You have to experience this for yourself. Play some Rock Sugar!
Bring it on...