Whitesnake
Slip of the Tongue


4.0
excellent

Review

by Brendan Schroer STAFF
November 23rd, 2012 | 20 replies | 2,123 views


Release Date: 1989 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A vastly underrated gem from Whitesnake, Slip of the Tongue may be slightly past their prime, but it is a grand swansong before the band's temporary 90's breakup.

Whitesnake, much like fellow hard rock band Tesla, were a bit of an oddity in the 80's glam scene, creating edgy rockers and power ballads that were sandwiched between the Sunset Strip and the Scorpions in terms of style. Even then, Whitesnake's records still went on to sell like hot cakes and their bluesy edge spiced up their style instead of being the focal point in their music. One could listen to their music for any mood; you get those edgy, dirty tracks, laced in with a hint of serious subject matter and the obligatory dose of love balladry (who didn't have that back then?).

By the time 1989's Slip of the Tongue came around, Whitesnake were on top of the world, embarking on their largest concert tour at the time and performing all over the globe. The reception of the album itself, unfortunately, wasn't all too great, the record being heavily criticized for its general departure from the normal Whitesnake sound. Listening to it retrospectively, however, I'd say it deserves another chance.

First off, one of the biggest differences is in the guitar work, handled here by Steve Vai instead of Adrian Vandenberg, who suffered a wrist injury before getting anything done in the recording process. With Vai at the helm of the guitar work, the album gives off more of a "shredder" vibe, with solos flying in every direction while the vocal work by David Coverdale cuts a path of its own. Meanwhile, the rhythm section are definitely above average, but take the back seat most of the time as Coverdale and Vai battle each other on the frontlines of the production.

What ensues is a swirling storm of stylistic diversity, thunderous choruses, more metal-oriented guitar work, and those occasional sentimental moments to create a nice break from the action. Tunes like the title track and "Wings of the Storm" blow away the listener with swift drum work and punchy guitar work, while "Kitten's Got Claws" and "Cheap and Nasty" bring back the 80's sleaze in full form, with lyrics a band like Motley Crue could have certainly created in their heyday. The album continues in this way, of course making a few pitstops with the sweeter side of Whitesnake, like in songs such as the melancholic build-up (a la "One" by Metallica) ballad "Sailing Ships" and the moody "The Deeper the Love." Everything feels balanced stylistically, and no style overstays its welcome.

The production is crisp and clear, everything sounding retro yet very refined. This especially helps with songs like "Cheap and Nasty" with its multi-layered vocal arrangements during the chorus. The guitar work also benefits from this, having just enough crunch to reach a more metallic tone, yet having enough clarity to retain its appeal to a casual listener. The mix also captures many little subtle nuances for a more serious listener, such as the backing synthesizers illustrating the aural backdrop of "Fool For Your Loving."

Few albums are perfect, however, and Slip of the Tongue is certainly not perfect. Some people might not be able to handle the cheese, and, as stated above, the departure in style from previous Whitesnake albums (particularly becoming more serious) might turn fans off. Plus, the fact that Vai and Coverdale take over practically 90% of this record is pretty overbearing. However, this thing is still highly recommended in the long run, as it captures a different side of a band whose works have been consistently solid but not always too risk-taking.

Bottom line: When this album works, it's absolutely amazing. And guess what? There are quite a few of those very moments. Pick this up, and you could be very pleasantly surprised.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
November 23rd 2012



6736 Comments


Maybe, good review

SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
November 23rd 2012



4339 Comments


I've never really enjoyed this band, with the exception a few songs. Good review though, mate. Have a POS.

demigod!
November 23rd 2012



40987 Comments


yeah glam is pretty gay man never been a fan. good review though.

ReturnToRock
November 23rd 2012



3448 Comments


This was my first (and only, so far) Whitesnake, and frankly, I can't get the hate. Sure, it has filler (Kittens, Judgement Day), but also some great songs, such as Fool, Cheap'n'Nasty or Wings Of The Storm.

Good review, pos.

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
November 23rd 2012



18277 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Great album. This is definitely their most glam/hair metal sounding album.

Digging: Benoit Pioulard - Hymnal Remixes

TheNotrap
November 23rd 2012



7821 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

The previous is better but it remains a pretty solid release.
Good work, have a pos.


menawati
Contributing Reviewer
November 23rd 2012



14581 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

nice review man

Digging: Diamond Head - Live at the BBC

ViperAces
November 23rd 2012



12358 Comments


HERE I GO AGAIN ON MY OWN

ViperAces
November 23rd 2012



12358 Comments


Me and my friend gave their s/t album to our teacher at the end of last year.

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
November 23rd 2012



18277 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

You listened to any of their non-glam stuff Necro? I'm talking about their early blues rock material, it's pretty good but a lot of
people don't give it a chance thinking that it's hair metal for some reason.

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
November 23rd 2012



14581 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

yea micky moody played some mean slide guitar in their early days

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
November 23rd 2012



18277 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah, Bernie Marsden was a great blues guitarist too.

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
November 23rd 2012



14581 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

aint no love in the heart of the city was pretty good

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
November 23rd 2012



14581 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

journey went awful fast but Infinity is a pretty good album

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
November 23rd 2012



18277 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Lovehunter is a great album. My favourites of their early stuff are probably Ready An' Willing and Come An' Get It.

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
November 23rd 2012



18277 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Never really looked into Journey's early stuff, maybe I should.

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
November 23rd 2012



14581 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

dont think of them ever as prog but they used to go beyond straight radio rock in their earlier days

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
November 23rd 2012



18277 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Great review btw, just read it (didn't have time earlier) pos'd.

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
November 23rd 2012



14581 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

The first 3 albums were kinda like Mahavishnu Orchestra but more accessible and rock-oriented.


really ? didnt know that, earliest thing i heard was infinity

FiveLeavesLeft
Staff Reviewer
March 5th 2013



7920 Comments


^ Whoa, what's with the 1.5?



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