This review is part of the Epinions Big Hair Write-Off. Please read other great reviews by the following participants:
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In the days of my youth, somewhere tucked between New Kids and Nirvana, there was Nelson. Oh, yes, they were cute, innocent, and had the best hair of any band I ever knew. (Not to mention they were the sons of music great Ricky Nelson. Yes, they had good genes.)
I immediately fell in love with Nelson upon their MTV emergence, suddenly rushing out to purchase their debut album, After The Rain, for my own listening pleasure.
I couldn't stop listening, rushing home every day to sing along with the powerful songs bandleaders Matthew and Gunnar belted out. It was like they were actually singing to me.
So, for the Epinions Big Hair Write-Off, I chose Nelson, the band with the best Big Hair and the most powerful songs. I dusted off the ten-year-old tape, played it on the stereo, and it was as if I was once again a thirteen-year-old with way too much makeup and Sun-In in my hair.
But enough about me. Let's go to the album.
First and foremost, the album sounds like a simple effort to capitalize on the hair band explosion of the early 90's. Because Matt and Gunnar had good looks, flashy clothes and a reputable family backing them up, it was no problem for these cuties. Aside from that, the album has some great tunes that are guaranteed to take you back into ye olde land of guitar rock.
(I Can't Live Without Your) Love and Affection (Track 1): I'd give up my pride to save me from bein' alone; I can't live without your looooove. Nelson's first single, this one starts out with a simple-yet-meaningful acoustic guitar solo and leads into the Nelson twins' fabulous harmonies. This classic hair band love song mixes acoustic and electric guitars, thrashing drum beats, and even has an Eddie Van Halen ripoff bridge in the middle. It's a song that says, "Hey, we ain't singin' no 'Travelin' Man.' We're bad boys with a soft side!"
After The Rain (Track 2): After the rain washes away the tears and all the pain, only after the rain will you live again. Okay, okay, this song is credited with one of the worst music videos ever made. All I remember is sister Tracy Nelson (of Square Pegs and Father Dowling Mysteries fame), some kid with a bandanna, a Native American with a feather, and Matthew and Gunnar wearing even flashier outfits than the ones from their first video. But forget about that! This song is a classic early-90's power song. I love it. It's a motivational song that has inspired the hearts of young women from all around. This one is a bit more powerful than "Love and Affection," has all the great Matt/Gunnar harmonies, and has a bridge that, while not being as powerful as the one in "Love and Affection," doesn't need to be so. This song makes you want to do a Michael-Bolton-Reach-The-Sky move.
More Than Ever (Track 5): Do I, do I love ya, baby? Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, More than ever! Oh, man. Now, this one is great. It's the classic hair band anthem, beginning with an a capella plea for nameless female's knowledge of Matt and Gunnar's love. This song also comes from the acoustic rock genre of hair bands, as seen in Trixter, Extreme and Tesla. This is a song that brings visions of old headbangers raising their demon signs in the air and rockin' out while Matthew and Gunnar belt out those guitar riffs and make sure their hair hasn't become misplaced. The song's bridge is one of those classic drum-backed a capella choruses you can see an audience clapping to, with their hands constantly clasping above their heads to those strong one-UH, one-UH beats. Good job, Nelson.
Fill You Up (Track 7): Now is the time to open up your wings and fly. Let me fill you up with love tonight. This is Nelson's token "Let's sound like Bon Jovi song." Well, actually, it sounds more like a cross between Bon Jovi's "Bad Medicine" and .38 Special's "Rockin' Into the Night." The song is comprised of speedy guitars, great harmonies, cymbal-invoked percussion, and a hidden wokka-wokka guitar sound that makes this one unique. Although, I must admit, it was hard for me to believe if it was actually Nelson or their hair singing. Personally, I think it might be a little bit of both.
I hear the Nelson boys have decided to follow in their father's footsteps and jump into the country scene (this time as The Nelson Brothers). They can be found hanging around in Southern states, adding a country flair to their old tunes, playing some new country songs, and belting out some of Dad's tunes. Maybe one day they'll go back to the long hair and shiny Sgt Pepper-esque outfits of the days of yore. Right now, the prospect seems unlikely. Ah, well. I still have After The Rain to remember them by.
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