Thin Lizzy, ‘Bad Reputation’ – Album Review
In one of his last interviews, Thin Lizzy co-founder Phil Lynott seemed genuinely perplexed that his solo albums and post-Lizzy music weren't embraced.
After all, the music he created for all his projects was the same. Or was it?
The expanded, remastered edition of 'Bad Reputation,' Thin Lizzy's eighth studio album, might just provide part of the answer to why Lynott wasn't able to regain his musical footing post Lizzy.
The songs on 'Bad Reputation,' originally released in 1977, are full of Lynott's lyrical vignettes backed by pounding drums and the dual-lead guitar harmonies the band pioneered. That sonic feast underscores Lynott's remark to Music Box that he funneled his baddest, leanest, most hard-rocking songs to the band, taking the rejects for himself.
Lynott lived until 1986, two years after Lizzy first broke up. One wonders if his musical heart still yearned for the band, causing him to lose his musical mojo. Whatever you think of Lynott's solo work, the beauty of Thin Lizzy's music with him at the forefront speaks for itself.
From the gong clap on 'Soldier of Fortune 4/5' that foreshadows Lynott's haunting lyrics about soldiers' inherent blood thirst, you know you're in for a technicolor sonic ride as the music swerves into a sprite-like pop attitude before landing squarely back on soldier-sounding snares.
These musical kaledioscopes is arguably what set Thin Lizzy apart and made their songs so appealing. No sooner do you luxuriate in the intricate, R&B infused 'Dancing in the Moonlight (It's Caught Me in its Spotlight)' then you feel the pain spring from the wailing guitars on the Springsteen-style rocker 'That Woman's Gonna Break Your Heart.'
Fans will love the crispness of the remastered songs and also enjoy the sound check version of 'Me and the Boys' as well as many of the songs performed at a BBC radio session.
Yet the album may be something of a double-edged sword for fans eagerly hoping for a new studio album by the new Thin Lizzy. Just as Lynott couldn't musically excel without the band, it seems doubtful a reformed Thin Lizzy without its creative heart will be more than a shadow of its former self.
One can only hope to be proven wrong.