Mr. Big – ‘Defying Gravity’

 


THE BAND:
Eric Martin – lead vocals
Billy Sheehan – bass, backing vocals
Pat Torpey – percussion, backing vocals
Paul Gilbert – guitar, backing vocals
Matt Starr – drums, backing vocals (Matt Starr was brought in due to Pat Torpey’s health issues)


TRACK LISTING:
1.) ”Open Your Eyes” – This track opens with a single rhythm guitar riff.  Underneath the last two notes there was an eighth-note floor tom strike.  After this riff the band use the effect of someone saying “we’re rolling”.  Just like Mr. Big did for their first release.  The main intro consisted of the same opening rhythm guitar riff however this time around Billy was playing the same rhythm notes with the bass line.  After this second riff there was a musical rest.  Over the top off this musical rest Eric says, “hit me now”.  After the musical rest the main body of the intro kicks-in.  All three instruments are playing the same rhythm pattern.  There was a very cool Mr. Big fill connecting the musical intro with the musical verse.  The musical verse consisted of a musical arrangement change.  For the chorus it sounded like Eric’s vocals were either double-tracked or they added a small effect to them.  I say this because they have a thicker sound to them.  The musical fill that connected the chorus with the second verse was just mind blowing.  After the second chorus there was a complete musical change.  To really respect this musical change you absolutely must listen to this track with headphones on.  The solo Paul wrote for this song had a very blistering sound to it.

2.)”Defying Gravity” –This track opens with a floor tom crack along with a bass slide.  The main rhythm riff consisted of a very simple Paul Gilbert rhythm guitar riff.  Paul overdubbed the rhythm guitar track to give the rhythm guitar arrangement two different rhythms.  For the main body of the intro the Paul and Billy are playing the same rhythm with the drum line consisting of the same rhythm on the snare.  The rhythm progression of this intro just goes to show you, as if you do not already know, this are a talented bunch of musicians.  In between the lyric lines of the verse the band used the same rhythm riff as the intro.  There was a rhythm arrangement change for the musical chorus.  The lyric lines of the chorus consisted of a huge Eric Martin hook.  After the first chorus there was a minor lead guitar solo.  The last half of the third lyric line of the second verse consisted of a musical rest underneath it.  After the second chorus there was a breakdown section.  This breakdown consisted of two minor lead guitar solos.  There was a third minor lead guitar solo over the top of the coda.
3.) ”Everybody Needs a Little Trouble” – Once you hear the musical hook of this track it will be very easy to see why it is one of the singles.
4.) ”Damn I'm In Love Again” – This ballad had a very simple Mr. Big feel to it.

5.) ”Mean To Me” –The intro to this track was utterly amazing sounding!  There was a very short musical rest connecting the musical intro with the musical verse.  The rhythm guitar arrangement along with the bass line of the musical verse was almost centered between the lyric lines.  For the musical chorus the band used the same musical arrangement as the one for the intro.  Billy’s bass was turned up a little more on this song giving the song’s musical arrangement a real thick heavy sound.  After the second chorus there was an arrangement change almost like a breakdown only not as slow.  This lead to a bass/guitar twin solo.
6.) ”Nothing Bad (About Feeling Good)” – This ballad consisted of one of those arrangements that only Mr. Big could pull off.  What an amazedly well structured songs.
7.) ”Forever And Back” – This track opened with a rhythm guitar arrangement along with vocal lines.  Billy kicks in the bass line underneath the third lyric line.  The last lyric of the fourth lyric line consisted of a vocal echo.  There was a tom-tom crack underneath the vocal echo.  After the echo the song kicks back in with the chorus.  The way the vocal lines of this track were arranged not only really shows just how good of a vocalist Eric is however also how underrated he is.  After the second chorus there was a very laid back lead guitar solo.

8.) ”She's All Coming Back To Me Now” – The rhythm guitar arrangement of this intro had a very nineties rock feel to it.  Over the top of the musical intro there was a vocal accent.  Paul used the same rhythm guitar arrangement for the musical verse as the one for the intro.  Billy’s bass line consisted of the same arrangement as the rhythm guitar.  There was an arrangement change for the pre-chorus.  There was a musical rest connecting the pre-chorus with the chorus.  For the second chorus Paul does this wonderful little rhythm run that just made the musical chorus.  After the second chorus was the lead guitar solo.
9.) ”1992” –This track was the history of the band put to a blistering musical arrangement.     
10.) ”Nothing At All” –This intro consisted of Paul and Billy playing the same rhythm notes over the top of a Matt Starr drum line.  I thought the musical intro had a very huge hook.  There was a rhythm change for the musical verse.  Over the top of the main rhythm arrangement Paul overdubbed a second guitar rhythm.  These two rhythms were different from one another.  The bass line of this song was very cool.  There was a rhythm change for the chorus.  In between the first chorus and second verse there was a few lead guitar licks.  After the second chorus there was a breakdown section that lead to a double-tracked lead guitar solo.  There was a second minor solo underneath the lead vocals of the coda.    
11.) ”Be Kind” –This track had a blues feel to it.  For me it was Billy’s bass line that made this song. The song runs at seven minutes long.
12.) “Defying Gravity” – bonus track (radio edit)


    I saw Billy Sheehan and Steve Via live on the David Lee Roth tour and I must say nothing up to that point had I ever seen nothing like the guitar/bass solo.  That is until 1988 when Mr.Big released their freshman self-titled debut.  Knowing both Paul Gilbert and bassist Billy Sheehan were amazing musicians.  I was not prepared for what I heard when I put headphones on.  It wasn’t just the bass and guitar work it was the drums along with Eric’s vocals.  This was an amazing band!  Sadly in 1997 Paul Gilbert left the band and was replaced by guitarist Richie Kotzen.  Though ‘Get Over it (1999) And ‘Actual Size’ (2001) was adequate releases they just did not compare up to their earlier material. It was very obvious the chemistry was not there.  Nothing against Ritchie he just wasn’t Paul.  February 1, 2009, a short message from Mr. Big, announcing the reunion of the original Mr. Big line-up to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of their début album.  Since then the band has been going strong releasing their third CD titled, ‘Defying Gravity’ in 2017.
    Even with Pat Topey’s health issues Billy And Paul had an aim and were focus on giving Mr.Big fans a collection of strong songs that feature what the band are great at. The band wasted no time writing songs with chunky riffs, strong grooves and melodic choruses, rich with backing vocal harmonies.  It’s a release and I can’t stress this enough you have to listen to it on headphones to really appreciate it musically.  I really enjoyed this release and feel it will be heavily rotated at home.  This is for the essential Mr. Big fan and should be added to you collection!