Motorhead, ‘Bad Magic': Album Review
Reviewing Motorhead albums at this stage of the game is basically just a fun way to waste time. It's hard to imagine that four decades into their amazingly consistent recording career there are too many people out there on the fence about whether or not to buy the group's 22nd studio effort, Bad Magic.
But if that description somehow fits you, and you like the band at all, then yes, there's plenty to enjoy here, and nothing to hate. Obviously, don't make it the first Motorhead album you purchase (that honor should go to the 1984 compilation No Remorse, 1980's Ace of Spades or even 1986's Orgasmatron), but Bad Magic stands as yet another example of Motorhead staying relevant and exciting without deviating from their well-established blend of rock, punk and metal, or making a single concession to modern trends.
As has been the case with recent records such as 2013's Aftershock and 2010's The World Is Yours, this album features a few "not bad" tracks which will probably fade from memory just due to the volume of the band's output – it's not like they can all fit in the set list, you know? But several songs are a notch or two better than that, and a few ("Thunder & Lightning," "Evil Eye," the cover of "Sympathy for the Devil") deserve a spot on the band's ever-expanding all-time mixtape.
If you're wondering how frontman Lemmy Kilmister's recent health battles may have affected his singing and playing on Bad Magic, have no fear: That soaring, crystal-clear falsetto has lost none of its hypnotic magic. (More seriously: His famous throaty croak remains as world-weary and angry as ever.)
It's tempting to search for insight into Lemmy's current state of mind within the lyrics of the album's sole ballad, the provocatively titled "Till the End." The opening line could easily be seen as his response to anybody suggesting retirement: "Don't tell me what to do, my friend / You'll break more hearts than you can mend / I know myself like no one else." But it's the chorus that really tells you everything you need to know about Lemmy, Motorhead and Bad Magic: "All I know is who I am / I'll never let you down / The rest will give you trust until the end."
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