Sound — 7
If a filmmaker was trying to parody a typical conservative American, the filmmaker would need to look no further than Ted Nugent ("The Simpsons" actually dedicated an entire episode to parodying him). While Ted Nugent has always been the conservative, gun-toting, game hunting, all American man that he is known as today, he was at one point known more for his music. With hits such as "Stranglehold" and "Cat Scratch Fever," Nugent was one of the guitar heroes of the 1970s' hard rock genre. Coincidentally, he is also a playable character in the "Guitar Hero" video game series.
With his new album, "Shutup&Jam!," Nugent appears to address the hoopla surrounding his political views and pop culture status in the title. For the most part, he stays true to the title, providing an album of straight rock and roll jamming. It seems like Nugent, with this album, is out primarily to impress his fan base. He plays the same type of rock that made him famous so many years ago. As a Ted Nugent fan, it's always nice to listen to his music. This album adds fuel to the fire. However, as a connoisseur of guitar based music in general, this album is not all that impressive, just more of the same.
Do not get me wrong. Ted Nugent is still the Motor City Madman. He can still play guitar well, sing well, and write songs well. His blues-rock riffs are still catchy. However, none are memorable. The same goes for his choruses. Nugent introduces nothing new, so much so that I would recommend not listening to this album; the previous albums in his catalog are the exact same style, just better and grittier.
The only song that sounds new and interesting is the instrumental "Throttledown," which has some exceptional soloing. In terms of the most memorable song, I would go with the album's opener/title track. The song opens with double stops that immediately send the song into a pulsing overdrive, seemingly setting the tone for the album. The chorus is actually pretty memorable and the song as a whole is great. The problem is that none of the other songs could come close. Even "Throttledown" is just interesting, not amazing. Maybe the first song just inherently sounds more novel than the rest of the songs on the album since all of the songs are similar.
In any event, fans of Ted Nugent will have no problem liking this album. I, as a fan of Ted Nugent, enjoyed the album. Yet, it still is not good enough to earn a spot on my iPod; I would rather just listen to the rest of his catalog. If there is one thing I do know, it is that Ted Nugent doesn't care what anyone thinks; he will play what he wants to play and sing about what he likes to sing about regardless of anyone's opinion. Maybe he is just worn out, but I expected better. Honestly, I expected something with the effort and novelty along the lines of AC/DC's "Black Ice"; even though that album was standard AC/DC, the band still somehow managed to make it sound new and interesting.
Lyrics — 7
If there is one thing nobody should fault Ted Nugent for, it is singing about what he likes best. And if you don't know what he likes best, Ted likes his women, his meat, and his America. As I mentioned before, the vocal melodies are not incredibly memorably but they are certainly adequate. As always, Nugent's lyrics are either fun or funny, depending on how you look at it.
Here is a sampling of lyrics from "I Love My BBQ":
"I love my barbecue,
It's what Americans do,
Pull up a chair, I'll get a bib for you...
Well, the tofu just might kill you baby,
A tossed salad makes you weak,
I like the kill on the grill mama,
It's protein that we seek.
I love my barbecue."
Overall Impression — 6
In summary, this album shows Ted Nugent doing what he does best, rocking and rolling. At this stage in his career, it is obvious that Ted Nugent is not in the mood to experiment. And for many people, that will be adequate. Truthfully, "Shutup&Jam!" is a solid album. But it is nothing remotely new for Ted Nugent. As such, it will likely only appeal to those who are already fans of him. If you are not a fan of Ted Nugent after listening to his previous work, this album is not likely to win you over.
Regardless, this album can give a nice time on a July 4th afternoon (just missed it) or give just as good a laugh to people amiable to the subjects he is fond of.
All that is left now is to await the response of Dave Mustaine.
After all, we need some Republicans to vie for office this year. And Homer Simpson is ready to make his selection.