Re: PMX2 Soundoff 2018 - first edition

Date:2018-01-08 07:19:45
In Reply To:Re: PMX2 Soundoff 2018 - first edition by T.J. Swoboda
To my ears, six of the tracks are mediocre. Nothing painful, but music that's "just there." "Futureal" is great IMO, while "The Clansman" is on par with most of Fear of the Dark: Good, but not good for Iron Maiden.
"Futureal" is certainly one of the best Blaze-era tracks, but the best of that era is still pretty close to the bottom when compared to the rest of the catalog. To my ears, "The Clansman" is an overrated, disjointed mess of a song that had a couple of promising ideas buried in it. The rest of Virtual XI is flat-out embarrassing, with out of tune singing, trite and pointless lyrics, and absolutely no finesse applied to the songwriting. The idea that someone could listen to the nearly 10-minute long abortion of a song "The Angel And The Gambler" and decide that it belonged on the album at all, much less that it deserved to be the first single, is completely appalling to me. This is what happens when your songwriting backbone (Dickinson & Smith) is gone and your egomaniac bass player decides to go full-on Colonel Kurtz.
The X Factor is, and hopefully always will be Iron Maiden's worst to me. The first four songs are just eh by any measure, followed by seven tracks of... just nothing.
I felt like everyone was at least trying on that album. I liked "Blood On The World's Hands" and "2 A.M.", and there were a few other tracks that were decent. Far better than the diarrhea-on-a-disc that everything after "Futureal" was on Virtual XI, IMO. But even then, The X Factor is still only second or third from the bottom of the catalog for me.

I know there are a lot of Blaze defenders and Harris worshippers out there, but the songwriting credits tell you all you need to know (at least once you add Dickinson back to the tracks he cowrote on Number Of The Beast that he couldn't legally take credit for). Dickinson and/or Smith had a piece of almost every classic song the band wrote, and the band's very best stuff had contributions from both of them. The worst of their solo work is at least as good as the best of Blaze-era Maiden. The proof is in the pudding.

- Jer
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