Bruce Dickinson - Tattooed Millionaire review
01. Son Of A Gun
02. Tattooed Millionaire
03. Born In '58
04. Hell On Wheels
05. Gypsy Road
06. Dive! Dive! Dive!
07. All The Young Dudes [Mott The Hoople cover]
08. Lickin' The Gun
09. Zulu Lulu
10. No Lies
11. Spirit Of Joy [bonus]
12. Darkness Be My Friend [bonus]
13. Sin City [bonus] [AC/DC cover]
14. Winds Of Change [bonus]
15. Riding With The Angels [bonus] [live]
Let's face it, you are only listening to this because of his day job.
Before Bruce Dickinson decided to cash in his chips and leave his day job for a few years, he released Tattooed Millionaire, a solo album that was about as much of a left turn as he could take without leaving the rock genre as a whole. Embracing humour and a rock ethos in tune with many bands from the seventies, Dickinson releases an album that will likely have fans come for the name on the album and stay for the fun it is.
Sounding like an escape from the Iron Maiden straitjacket that Dickinson had alluded to at the time, he takes the opportunity to spread his wings and does so with tongue firmly in cheek. Every facet of this album is much more the antithesis of Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son than No Prayer For The Dying was. From the subjects of the songs to the AC/DC-indebted styles that prevail for much of the album's length, it sees Dickinson unfettered by any notion of what a song should be.
Tattooed Millionaire is a fun album if you are able to switch off and just take it at face value, a collection of tracks with little substance but that are straight forward and fun, taking the direct approach with a strut straight out the ministry for silly walks. Each track goes from point A to point B and while it is no frills or spills, it makes up for it in being fun and carefree in the journey.
The guitar work of soon to be Iron Maiden-bound Janick Gers is simplistic but befitting the tone of the album, focusing on simple but hard hitting riffs ala AC/DC, though not reaching the top shelf quality that would befit said band. While tracks like "Lickin' The Gun" feature fun upbeat riffs, they won't make you reach for the air guitar anytime soon. The rest of the band slot in well, helping craft and fill out the sound to create songs that are capable of capturing your attention and giving Dickinson a platform to play around behind the microphone.
The hands down highlight of the collection is the title track, which features the best utilization of both Bruce's clean and harsh vocals combined on one track, alongside strong guitars and an axe to grind (supposedly directed at Nikki Sixx of Mötley Crüe fame). While the rest of the album is fun and memorable, it is the one song I wouldn't hesitate to put on a greatest hits collection by Dickinson (including his Maiden material).
The rest of the album sits in the good to ok range, with songs like "Dive, Dive, Dive" and "Hell On Wheels" on the cusp of being more than good but falling short, while "No Lies" ranks as the worst of the bunch. The latter track is a poor re-tread of "Bring Your Daughter To The Slaughter" but with even less effort put into it, sounding like a prototype for what would become said track, but given it was released afterwards, it feels redundant at birth.
"All The Young Dudes" is a faithful interpretation of the Mott The Hoople classic, but it breaks the flow of the album and sees the band take their tongues out of their cheeks for what is an ok cover. While I have heard far worse covers, it falls into the all too common problem of covering such a solid classic that ninety nine times out of a hundred it will instantly pale in comparison to the original.
Even being a big fan of Bruce Dickinson's solo material, I can't say this is one of his strongest efforts. Even though it is consistently hits middle of the road in terms of material, because it plays everything safe by default, I find it less interesting than Dickinson's later work where he took risks and though he occasionally made some clunkers, at least he pushed himself rather than sit in the passenger's seat. I would say to leave this album towards the back of your mind if you're interested in giving his solo work a go.
||Written on 30.11.2020 by|
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