We all expected that this new album would have some different features given that it was going to be produced by Phil Collen from Def Leppard. Tesla has been touring with DL for the good part of the last decade and there was bound to be some influence in the new songs. And, there most certainly was.
Before I sat down to write this, I listened to the album a few times start to finish. It’s a strong album for sure. There’s a lot for the fans to rock out to. But, (you knew it was coming) it is pretty tough for me to get through the first third of the album. This is where the Collen influence is heaviest. Despite the fact Collen has writing credits on all of the songs on the album, the first four tracks – especially songs 1 and 2 sound like they came straight out of Def Leppard’s songbook. You can literally picture Joe Elliot singing these same songs. This is not to say they are bad songs. I actually like the title track (Track 4). It’s just tough for me to get past the idea that these songs could very well have been recycled from the Adrenalize sessions and given new life on this Tesla record.
Once you get past Track 4, you start getting into a truer Tesla record. And, it’s some great stuff. Songs like ‘The Mission’ and ‘Tied To The Tracks’ (my early favorite) are rockers that measure up well with their catalog. And staying true to their recipe there are a handful of ballads on here as well – though it isn’t as overweighted as Simplicity was. ‘Love is a Fire’ and ‘Forever Loving You’ are probably the best ballads they’ve done since Psychotic Supper.
In addition to the pseudo-Def Leppard tracks at the front of the record and heavy DL-style harmonies in tracks like ‘Comfort Zone’ and ‘I Want Everything’ there are some other interesting musical twists. You get a heavy bass intro at the beginning of Comfort Zone, a NIN-style synth at the front of ‘Shock’, and a piano in ‘We Can Rule The World’. I’m trying to recall any other Tesla song with a piano but nothing comes to mind.
All that said, I like it. But, as you know, I’m a bit biased because I’m a huge Tesla fan. See our concert reviews for further evidence. Go buy the record. You’ll enjoy it.