Album #526 – Eliminator
Eliminator is a phenomenal rock album. It’s not until you listen to it all the way through, that you realize just how good ZZ Top are as a band, even though they added synths and drum machines. Eliminator marked the first time the group fully adopted those things to augment their sound. They had sparingly used synths on El Loco, which was the precursor to Eliminator, released in 1981. But, the band wanted to go full on with synths. It was the right decision to make at the time. In fact, ZZ Top were so much drawn to synths and electronic drums that they remixed their entire back catalog, with the exception of Deguello, and released it in 1988 on CD. For years, those versions were the only ones available on CD, until 10 years ago, when they started reissuing their albums with the original mixes. The album is one party from start to finish. The synths and renewed energy made ZZ Top household names. Their videos for Legs, Sharp Dressed Man and Gimme All Your Lovin’ were played heavily on MTV and MuchMusic. The band not only featured themselves in the video, with their long beards but, the car you see in the album cover above and hot girls. There is nothing more stereo typically rock and roll than that. But, the band also explores their roots. I Need You Tonight showcases the dark side of the blues while Thug shows the southern/Texas side. I was surprised that I liked this album. I have heard, almost ad-nausem, the three big hits I mentioned above. While they are great songs, they can be overplayed. In some ways, I felt the band betrayed their roots by adding synths and drum machines. But, it did more to save their career and bring them into the mainstream, than anything else they have done before or since. Other highlights include: Got Me Under Pressure, I Got The Six, TV Dinners, Dirty Dog and If I Could Only Flag Her Down. Overall, I give Eliminator, 5 out of 5.
Next: Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) by Eurythmics