Friday, April 26, 2013

Deep Purple "Now What?!" (Sweet Funky Review)

Deep Purple's 19th album, "Now What?!" was released in a few countries today. While I can't wait to buy it when it's released in the US, I also can't possibly wait that long to listen to it. So I immediately downloaded the album offline so I could listen to it a few dozen times before it drops in the US.

This album is fucking epic.

  
 
I really hope this album is a huge hit. Deep Purple deserve to be the band to save mainstream music. I'm sick of shitty music being popular. Nicki Minaj, Jay Z, Lady Gaga, Justin Beiber, Beyonce, Kanye West, Lil Wayne....none of these artists deserve the spotlight. It is sacrilegious to even mention such artists when we're talking about such a prolific, legendary band. But I honestly think this album has potential to completely turn everything around....if enough people listen. I bring these artists up to display the standard people are holding music to...vs the heights musicians can attain when they're both virtuosic and impassioned. Deep Purple "Now What?!" should redefine the game, as the band have many times in their career. Music has arguably never needed a reboot moreso than now. And this album would be the perfect catalyst.

  
It is my hope that this album, coming from such a notable band of rocks history, will have the hype behind it to re-capture the imaginations of the masses and bring GOOD MUSIC back into the mainstream. A fool can dream, right?
 
 If this album is a huge hit, and it very well should be, it would set a new precedent for what rock bands attempt to tackle in their studio albums. This album would raise standards....if the masses have the attention span to sit through it. "Why does the second track sound so stylistically different than the first track? I'm going back to LMFAO, this is making me think too much!"

Make no mistake, Deep Purple are very much taking everyone to school with this album. Each track is so dynamic, yet a perfect continuation of the song before it. I'd really love this album to help revitalize music in the mainstream. The bar needs to be raised. Rock music needs to reign supreme again. Enough cookie-cutter, generic tripe dominating the charts.....THIS is the kind of music that should be #1 for weeks on end. The playing and composition is so masterful.

Just compare "Hell to Pay" radio edit vs the track that's on the album. There's a HUGE difference what an extra minute or two does to a track. There should have never been a "radio edit." People should have the attention span to listen to the full track, because it benefits so much from that extra organ solo. It's absurd bands have to dumb down their product to mass-market them; peoples standards in music are far too low. And that's why I keep emphasizing how much I want this album to be a huge success - because it is certainly catchy enough to capture the interest of the general public...but Purple have always kind of flown under the radar, living in the shadow of bands like the over-hyped and comparatively lackluster and bloated Led Zeppelin. If you ask me, "Now What?!" blows away everything Zeppelin have ever composed / stolen...
  
Seriously, this album fires on all cylinders. Immense musical dynamics are on display in every track. Every single note sounds so calculated and precise, yet completely organic and natural. This is what musical genius sounds like. 

  
Now What?! perfectly captures the spirit of inventiveness and virtuosity of the 70's, including the psychedelic, but it executes this spirit with a mature and masterful touch none of the young bands of that time had quite reached. These are seasoned veterans trying to push their own boundaries while paying homage to their storied history, and it blends perfectly into one of the strongest albums a band in their "twilight" years has ever released. This is their 19th album, and it stands right up there with their old works.

 The musicianship is top-notch, the band sounds gracefully aged, and Bob Ezrins production gives everything a crisp, rich timber. Really hope he sticks around for a few more albums, they sound so inspired on "Now What?!" and Ezrin perfectly captures their passion with his mastering. Ian Gillan notably sounds better than he has in years, utilizing his full range and singing some very memorable vocal hooks, sure to hook in even casual music listeners.

    
Don Airey is really stepping out of Jon Lords shadow with this album too; he has a few moments that are noticeably a tribute to Jon Lords style. But he really experiments and tries to reinvent the way the keys are used in the band, which is fine by me. Jon Lord is impossible to replicate (RIP) and its better not to try to play constant "Jon Lord lite" hammond passages. But when Airey really goes in, he does a good job of paying tribute to the fallen master of Hammond Organ.
   
"Out Of Hand" really reminds me of "Hungary Daze"....if "Hungary Daze" had been released on "Purpendicular." And "Weirdistan" reminds me of "Strangeways" if it was released on "Bananas." You see what I'm getting at? The album opens with "A Simple Song," which is lyrically and stylistically reminiscent of "Child in Time," but then jumps into a more hard rocking vibe lead by Don Aireys organ. The band seems to make subtle nods like this throughout the album, but it never feels forced or unnatural. There's a section in "All the Time In the World" that sounds just like "Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming," and it only heightens the impact of the track for people well-versed in Purples discography.
  
The band isn't following any particular formula, but for die-hard Purple fans, they're really paying a natural, non-forced homage to a lot of different styles they've touched upon over their illustrious career. The first few tracks could be said to be the "Perfect Strangers" of Mark 8. But the album is so diverse, it changes with each track and perfectly flows from one song to the next. Each new track sort of carries an element from the track before it, while expanding it into different territory. It's really one of the best albums I've ever listened to, and that's not just the hash talking.
   
Help bring this album to number 1. Pirate now if you must, because I know I couldn't have waited another few weeks to listen to the album. But buy it the day its released in your country - I know I will be. This is a MUST LISTEN, and it would be completely epic if this album helped pull mainstream music out of the doldrums. This is one of the strongest albums of one of the strongest bands of all-time, no lie, and it deserves to get hype, recognition, and success. 

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