Review : ZZ Top - Eliminator
RollingstonesMention dance rock and people think of Franz Ferdinand or Duran Duran. But when it comes to the American edition, nothing matches the ferocity or success of ZZ Top's 1983 Eliminator, a landmark blend of traditional Texan boogie blues, New Wave synths and disco-steady beats that sold over 10 million U.S. units. Yielding the band's sleek pop breakthrough, "Legs," and a slew of similarly strutting rock-radio staples, Eliminator announced a major studio reinvention from a hairy Houston threesome previously focused on replicating the grit of their arena-packing Seventies concerts.
Guitarist Billy Gibbons already knew how to fill a power-trio framework with rumbling chords and fat leads that double as propulsive rhythmic blare. Here he adds a badass distortion that complements bassist Dusty Hill's quavering synth frills and drummer Frank Beard's Devo-precise stomp as biker hoedowns like "Gimme All Your Lovin' " and "Sharp Dressed Man" overflow with good-natured testosterone. Only on "Dirty Dog" does the macho get regrettably mean....full text
BlenderWhen video killed the radio star, few imagined the survivors would look like this: thirtysomething roots rockers from the conservative state of Texas with 11 years together and more facial hair than England’s whole new wave combined.
Fate’s fickle wheel began turning when this Houston band set to work on Eliminator. Although they’d made seven albums in the hidebound style of blues rock, ZZ Top had been steadily refining their own spare, punchy, pop-oriented version. Using a peso for a pick, virtuoso Billy Gibbons coined a motorized guitar sound while bassist Dusty Hill and (confoundingly beardless) drummer Frank Beard forged a poker-faced rhythm section that could go 50 exits without stopping. After using synths on ’81’s El Loco, the band blended them with sequencers and Gibbons’s signature “amp cabin” style of guitar mic’ing to create a densely layered, dance-beat-driven juggernaut whose spitting midrange sounded like an industrial-strength lawn sprinkler. No less a raw-power standard-bearer than Black Flag were soon playing Eliminator before shows on their ’84 tour; singer Henry Rollins now declares in these liner notes, “The change of direction on Eliminator was one of the boldest and most successful moves a rock band ever made.”...full text
RecordcollectormagUntil 1983, ZZ Top were popular purveyors of bluesy boogie-rock. After Eliminator they were global superstars and this excellent CD/DVD set amply demonstrates why.
The album itself is a near-perfect slab of slick 80s hard rock. While many of the band’s contemporaries grew up and blanded out, the Texas trio’s abundant style and personality easily survived the clinical production techniques of the time and, indeed, the album has some of their most idiosyncratic material. Half the songs here (Sharp Dressed Man, Gimme All Your Lovin’ and Legs to name the most obvious) will be immediately familiar to even the casual listener, but they’re not all that Eliminator has to offer. From the beautifully performed blues of I Need You Tonight to the AC/DC-ish rock of I Got The Six, the album is far more than singles-plus- filler. Bonus-wise, the CD includes good live performances and the less essential dance mix of Legs. The DVD features the peerless videos that brought the band’s unique image and humour to the world’s attention, as well as their memorable performance on Channel 4’s The Tube. Classic stuf0f....full text
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