White Lion - Big Game
In preparation for the upcoming White Lion concert at Pumpehuset I am continuing my trip down White Lion Lane.

After the multi platinum success of Pride and a long world tour the pressure was on and the band headed straight into the studio where they wrote and recorded Big Game in a very short time. The album still sparkles with creativity and enthusiasm and holds up very well.

The guitar work of Vito Bratta deserves a special mention. He infuses the songs with a vigour that is not often heard. Scattered through the songs are an abundance of cool licks that gives the music an element of surprise. Living on the edge and Don't say it's over are prime examples of this. For more info on the band members read my Mane Attraction review.

I'm heading straight to the songs and I'll deal with my personal favorites first (in no particular order):

Opening the album, Goin' Home Tonight has an undeniable happy vibe to it that is bound to get you in a good mood. The guitar work is really enticing and varied with lots of little touches in each verse. Mike Tramp's voice is filled with a yearning that gives the song a stronger impact.

White Lion have always excelled at their ballads and Broken Home is among their best. It is an incredibly emotional song. I love the sombre bridge section in the first two verses and the guitar solo, which screams of desperation. The way Mike Tramp sings the second to last line at 4:37 always gets me. That moment captures the essence of the song.

It seems like every White Lion album has a break up song. Don't say it's over is a personal favorite. If only for the brilliant chorus where the repeated title line adds a special intense drive to the song, gently pushed forward by the controlled guitar riff. Great harmony there. The bridge sections provide a great lead to the chorus and the way Mike heads into each of these at 0:46 and 1:46 adds a ton of emotion to the song.

Cry for freedom is a highlight of the album and one of my absolute favorite White Lion songs. The song takes on an ethereal atmosphere as the first words are sung. It is one of those moments where I get a clear image in my mind. The pulsating guitar notes and the light drumming keep this atmosphere intact through the song. An effective and powerful ending to the album.

The catchy Little Fighter (In memory of the Rainbow Warrior) has an upbeat feel to it and is carried by inspired guitar work. If my mind is evil takes a darker turn, with a heavy riff and a vocal performance by Mike that is angry and intense.

If there was only one word to describe Living on the edge then it would have to be cool. The song has a carefree attitude and I find it impossible to stand still when the chorus arrives. Can't wait to hear this one live, that chorus demands jumping.

Less interesting tracks include the rather static Dirty Woman and Baby be mine . Dirty Woman opens with some splendid guitar work based on a great riff, but the rest of the song doesn't live up to the beginning. Baby be mine is all nice and sweet, but it runs around in the same circle too many times.

Let's get crazy is a slick party tune that fails to leave a lasting impression. The cover of Golden Earring's Radar Love has some great drum work going for it, but it usually fails to capture my attention.

A theme runs through many of the lyrics about being strong, fighting for what you believe in, looking past lies and deceit and finding the inner strength to do the right thing. No matter if Mike Tramp is singing about love, divorce, apartheid, sunken ships, the environment, TV preachers or just living it up, there is an air of innocence to the lyrics that is both charming and naïve.

Big Game is a great album. It is varied and has that special 80'ies feel to it that is both nostalgic and bound to get you in a good mood.

Written by Steen
Friday, November 10, 2006
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Review by Steen

Released by
Atlantic - 1989

1. Goin' Home Tonight
2. Dirty Woman
3. Little Fighter
4. Broken Home
5. Baby Be Mine
6. Living on the Edge
7. Let's Get Crazy
8. Don't Say It's Over
9. If My Mind Is Evil
10. Radar Love
11. Cry for Freedom

Hard Rock

Related links
Visit the band page

Mike Tramp - Official Website

White Lion Forever - A White Lion fan site

Other articles
Mane Attraction - (Steen)

Return of the Pride - (Alanna)

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