Ugly Kid Joe’s debut album, America’s Least Wanted, is the closest this talent band has ever gotten to fame. An album filled with catchy hard rock riffs, cheeky and at times laughs out loud lyric and brilliant singing, America’s Least Wanted is an often overlooked gem from the 90s rock scene.
Ugly Kid Joe might have the unfair label of being a joke band, mostly due to their biggest hit single ‘Hate Everything About You’. This song might be a bit of a superficial number, but it has everything that makes a good radio song. It’s got a catchy and memorable chorus, its musical arrangement is fairly diverse and the singing by Whitefield Crane is damn near perfect. ‘Cats in the Cradle’ was the other hit single from the album. A cover of an old folk song by Harry Chapin, it’s a serious narrative number that deals with a relationship between a father and son. The song has the normal verse - chorus - verse song structure, and both an acoustic and electric guitar are used. It’s a great cover of a good song.
This band at times seem to be on the verge of going heavy metal, as can be seen with opening two songs ‘Neighbor’ and ‘Goddamn Devil’ being the pick of the bunch. The former opens the album with a heavy distorted riff, before Crane starts singing about neighborhood love. The song has a good solo and an even better chorus, and it’s truly one of the best songs on the album. The latter is a slow building metal track, and lyrically it is sung from the perspective of the devil. Even though the lyrics are a bit humors, but some of the lyrics are pretty darn dark.
‘So Damn Cool’ is another good rock track. Its riff is quite good, and the verses are great. The song builds up steam towards a lyrical outburst in the second half of the track. ‘Same Side’ is a fun bluesy number, but at just under five minutes it can drag at times. ‘‘Panhandlin’ Prince’ is another highlight, with a memorable solo and a more serious subject matter.
As can be expected with most albums, there are a couple of below average tracks. ‘Busy Bee’ is a poor and painfully boring number. Even at just four minutes, the song never really goes off, and the listener ends up skipping it. ‘I’ll Keep Trying’ is a pretty average number, the lyrics are not really great and the happy go lucky chorus is nothing to ring home about.
‘Mr. Recordman’ closes the album on a high note. A mature acoustic ballad that deals with the general music industry and how their willing to use a musician and then get rid of them when their done. Crane shows a brilliant range here, and the song just flows really well.
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Great Music to Play While: Driving