Bruce Dickinson - Balls To Picasso review
|Album:||Balls To Picasso|
02. Hell No
03. Gods Of War
04. 1000 Points Of Light
05. Laughing In The Hiding Bush
06. Change Of Heart
07. Shoot All The Clowns
09. Sacred Cowboys
10. Tears Of The Dragon
Ah, Bruce Dickinson, perhaps the greatest voice in metal. Enough has been said of him and his works that I'll just dive into this album review. While Tattooed Millionaire was much more rock-oriented, I found Balls to Picasso a much more punk-oriented album that shows the short leap between metal and its punk roots. This album is probably my favorite of Bruce's solo albums due to its variety of musical styles, highlighting Dickinson's strong song-writing ability that was being somewhat repressed during his time with Iron Maiden.
One of the album's strong points in my opinion is the excellent guitar work of Roy Z, laying down fine riffs without taking the spotlight away from where it really belongs, Dickinson's writing and singing. Dickinson delves into the ideas of war as he has often but his song "1,000 Points of Light" has some remarkable imagery and thought provoking lines like: "...Hey, what kind of freedom is bought with a gun," and "...And the freedoms you profess to hold won't bring the dead back from the cold." Strange how over a decade later, these very words are still poignant and seem almost prophetic.
The choruses Dickinson writes are also extremely memorable, which is yet another reason the songs are so terrific. Powerful, image-filled verses with catchy hooks and choruses are found in EVERY song. A rare feat indeed.
Going back to the punk roots, I don't think any song exemplifies this more than Shoot All the Clowns, this is just a fun, quirky song that catches you off guard when you first hear it, but you very quickly get into it. Sacred Cowboys has one of the most interesting choruses in my opinion, possibly due to this album being produced out in L.A. where the most famous cowboy is John Wayne, who is referenced in the chorus. However, the kicker of this album, and the song that wraps it all up as perfectly as can be is the extraordinarly impressive, beautifully conceived and masterfully performed Tears of the Dragon. This is a metal ballad as good as they come, and my favorite song on the album. Dickinson, while great on every other song, shows that he really shines when he sends his voice soaring.
Front to back, this album has everything I enjoy, variety, great song-writing, great performances, and I am thrilled that Dickinson made the brave choice of leaving Iron Maiden to pursue his own musical tastes. Of course I'm also glad he rejoined said band again.
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