Sound — 10
Mark Lanegan is anything but lazy. Since rising to prominence with Seattle based rockers Screaming Trees, the man with the voice like hell has spent over two decades making music. His most recent solo offering, Bubblegum, follows a long period spent touring with Queens of the Stone Age and features many of the desert alumni. Hence the 'Band' in question includes Josh Homme, Chris Goss, PJ Harvey and Guns N' Roses members Izzy Stradlin and Duff McKagan. With such an all star line-up, there's no way this album could be anything but a classic, could it? Well the short answer is, it stumbles. Near enough all of the 15 tracks are short, dark slices of melodic pop, with the majority sounding fantastic. Whether it be the industrial/blues riffs of "Methamphetamine Blues" or the chilled "Morning Glory Wine", Lanegan and messers literally steamroll through styles.
Lyrics — 9
The majority of lyrics match the music and Lanegan's voice perfectly. This is clearest on the numerous 'duets' present on the record. They range from the fast ("Hit the City" with PJ Harvey) to the very slow ("Wedding Dress" with ex Wendy Ray Fowler), each injected with a lyrical bite. The perfect mix of Lanegan's voice and that of a guest comes on "One Hundred Days", where shadows reigns with Goss providing the haunting backing vox. "My dark angel", PJ Harvey whispers, and it's hard to disagree. A bleak world is painted that, at times, is a struggle to get through.
Overall Impression — 9
Compared to his own back catalogue, this is possibly the best album Mark Lanegan has come out with since going solo. This is probably due to the fact it sounds nothing like his previous work, closer to the few songs he performed with Queens of the Stone Age than his mellow collection. Together, the tracks hardly tell a story yet gel, connected by a common theme. Though what is that theme? Love lost? Fear of age and death? Normally I'm not one to care about the meaning behind the music too much, but you can't help but wonder as Lanegan's voice fades out. The only thing stopping me from giving a perfect score is a slight dip in the second half of the album which could easily have been solved by removing a track, though which one I couldn't choose.