I don't care how late to the party I am, I feel compelled to spill my 2 cents about this album.
Firstly, I laughed my nuts off when people wrote off the entire album on the basis of hearing only Tattoo. If anybody knew a thing about VH, they know that VH almost always released the shittiest song on any given album as the leadoff single (Jump, Why Can't This Be Love, When It's Love, Poundcake & Can't Stop Lovin' You all come to mind as the weakest on their respective albums).
Now, my review, track by track.
I agree with 99% of the general consensus. Worst song on the album, by a long shot. Could've been a standout on OU812 or VH3, but not on this one.
2. She's The Woman
The first of 4 bulldozer, sub 3 minute, rock the fuck out tracks. My favorite solo on the album, which was new. The original solo in She's The Woman became the solo in Mean Street.
3. You & Your Blues
Not my favorite track, but Ed has killer tone in this one, especially the intro. Damn good solo as well. Song as a whole was a bit boring though.
4. China Town
The 2nd bulldozer. Love everything about it.
5. Blood & Fire
The intro (recorded with Ed's old school Kramer Ripley guitar) is one of my favorite clean sounding pieces, anywhere. Hearing the notes come at you from every which way possible on a good sound system is amazing. 2nd favorite solo on the album & a damn good song as a whole.
The 3rd bulldozer. Like the song as a whole a lot. The solo could've done without the heavy chorus/Leslie simulator.
7. As Is
My favorite song on the album. One of the oddest tunings I've ever heard in any song (The low E was dropped to B, and all other strings were tuned UP 1/2 a step), but goddamn, that intro is possibly the heaviest shit the boys have ever done. Love the quick rhythms & solos.
Possibly the oddest VH song ever, but man, what a treat. The use of the Sustainer is fresh by Ed in this one (not overused like in the VH3-BOBW days) and the Whammy usage was a nicely added effect. Another very heavy Drop D awesome track.
9. The Trouble With Never
Took me a while to warm up to this one, but the spoken part by Dave into the breakdown is one of the coolest things I've ever heard. Little too much wah for my taste, overall.
10. Outta Space
DAT RIFF. DAT TONE. Wish they'd play this one live. It would get the crowd rockin.
11. Stay Frosty
Remove Dave's "UH UH UH"s, and it's a damn good song. Love everything past the acoustic intro. Another track of yummy heaviness.
12. Big River
Solid song overall, but nothing really stood out that much to me.
13. Beats Workin'
Excellent ending to a great album. Awesome intro, solid song, WALL OF TONE for a good 30 seconds to close it out.
Overall: 8.5/10. If Tattoo was left off & Ed dusted off his old Plexi for at least half of the album, it could've been near perfection.
Still, I can't think of a better comeback album by any other band that hadn't released a full album in almost a decade & a half.