Thursday, April 20, 2017

Album Review: Crazy Lixx - Ruff Justice

Having lived through the latter part of the 80s, with memories of that time, I sometimes wonder why it is that we have such nostalgia for that time. The Reagan years were tumultuous, music was either synth pop dreck or the glam metal phase, and don't get me started about the ungodly amount of cheese that permeated tv and movies. It was an odd time, a time that's hard to look back at without cringing, and yet we have nostalgia for it. I suppose we white-wash the bad parts from our memories, and we only remember the good times. Otherwise, I'm not sure what exactly the attraction of hairspray and spandex could ever be.

Crazy Lixx is here to remind us of those glory days, with an album that is a full-on embrace of everything that is cheese. That includes 80s glam rock, as well as the poor (by today's standards) horror movies of the time. But can something that focuses on things we laugh about from the past be taken seriously in the here and now?

Crazzy Lixx says "everything was better in the 80s". That is so untrue I can't begin to explain their lack of brain power, but there are parallels between now and then. And the one thing the 80s had that is worth emulating is the sense of fun. Despite the negatives of the time, entertainment of all stripes aimed to do just that; entertain. That's what Crazy Lixx has going for them. Whether you like cheesy rock or not, you can't deny that there's a degree to which they're having fun, and they want us to have fun, that you don't get from more modern musical approaches.

Just listen to the first track, "Wild Child". It's a song that could be about a warewolf, but the sugary heaps of backing vocals make it a song that's so stupid it's hard to not love it. It's the kind of song that you can easily imagine yourself singing along with on a summer day, with the wind blowing through your hair as you head down the highway.

There's another band out there also showing their love for the 80s you might know of. Yes, I'm talking about Steel Panther. The two bands are similar in that they both love the glam rock of the 80s and want to bring it into the modern day, but they do so in completely different fashions. Steel Panther laughs at the very thing they're trying to say they love, which undercuts the point. If the format they play in is a joke, they're making jokes about a joke, which is such a pointless conceit that I can't even be mad at their pathetic freshman-grade 'humor'. Crazy Lixx, on the other hand, is making an honest attempt to recreate the music and show their love for it. They know it's cheesy, but that's the appeal. Instead of being a complete farce, it's tongue-in-cheek, and that slight bit of subtlety makes all the difference.

Is "Ruff Justice" a great album? No, but I'm not sure it's supposed to be. It wants to remind us of a certain time and a certain sound, and it definitely does that. It's a fun listen, but it's popcorn entertainment. It goes down well, but it's empty calories. Fun while it lasts, but nothing that we're going to be nostalgic about even a year from now.

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