Mr. Big - '...The Stories We Could Tell'
Eric Martin - vocals
Pat Torpey - drums
Billy Sheehan - bass
Paul Gilbert - guitar
1.) "Gotta Love the Ride" - This intro opens with a snare drum crack along with a very short tom-tom fill. At the end of the third measure and the beginning of the fourth measure of the intro Pat plays a small snare drum/tom-tom fill. Paul's rhythm guitar riff follows along with the same notes as this fill. For the last measure connecting the intro with the musical verse Pat repeats the snare and tom. Over the top of this second drum fill Paul plays a couple lead guitar licks. The musical verse consisted of a rhythm arrangement change. Paul double-tracked his rhythm guitar arrangements for the musical verse. Paul and Billy used part of the musical intro to connect the musical verse with the musical chorus. Parts of the lyric arrangement of the chorus reminded me some of the stuff Mr. Big wrote for their second release titled, 'Lean Into It' released on March 26, 1991. There was a repeat of the musical intro connecting the first chorus with the second verse. For this section Paul double-tracked a few lead guitar licks over the top of his rhythm guitar arrangement. Underneath the lyric lines of the second chorus Paul double-tracked several lead guitar licks. After the second chorus there was a lead guitar solo.
2.) "I Forget to Breathe" - Underneath the opening of this intro Pat plays a snare fill. Leading into the musical intro there is a musical rest that consisted of a Paul rhythm guitar riff. The main body of the musical intro had a solid Mr. Big intro arrangement. This intro arrangement not only shows how talented these musicians are however, it also shows just how well the members gel together. There was an arrangement change for the musical verse. Eric double-tracked the eighth, ninth and tenth lyric lines of the verse. After the tenth lyric line there was a rhythm arrangement change for the pre-chorus. For this rhythm change the band slowed the bpm (beats per minute) down. There was a snare fill connecting the pre-chorus with the chorus. For the musical chorus the band speeded the song back-up. This shows the bands songwriting talent. The chorus had a very simple hook attached to it. After the third chorus there was an amazing Paul Gilbert lead guitar solo. After the solo the band slowed the song down just a little before going into the fourth and final chorus. The track ended with several Gilbert lead guitar licks.
3.) "Fragile" - This track opens a simple rhythm guitar riff that leads into a lead guitar effect. The main body of the intro was kept fairly short. The band used the same rhythm arrangement for the musical verse as the one for the short intro. There was a short snare drum fill connecting the musical verse with the musical pre-chorus. There was an arrangement change for the musical pre-chorus. The chorus had a huge Eric Martin vocal hook. The choruses were very reminiscent to a lot of the stuff Mr. Big was writing right before Paul Gilbert left in 1997. After the third chorus there was an arrangement change. This arrangement change was actually a small breakdown section. This breakdown section lead to a Paul Gilbert lead guitar solo. Though the solo was short there were notes that really showed Gilberts playing ability. The coda consisted of a second Paul Gilbert lead guitar solo. Neither one of these solos are actually what I would call a major or minor lead guitar solo arragement.
4.) "Satisfied" - This track opens with a Billy Sheehan bass line before going into the main body of the intro section. The main body of the intro section consisted of a minor lead guitar solo. Scattered throughout the musical verse Paul played several lead guitar runs. The way Mr. Big arranged the lyrics was very similar to some of the stuff they wrote on their first two releases. There was a short build-up arrangement connecting the musical verse with the musical chorus. The chorus had a huge Eric Martin hook attached to the lyric lines of the chorus. After the second chorus there was a lead guitar solo. After the solo there was a small breakdown section. For four minutes and thirty-three seconds this song seemed awful short.
5.) "The Man Who Has Everything" - This intro consisted of an acoustic guitar arrangement. Over the top of the acoustic guitar arrangement Paul overdubbed a few electric guitar licks. Though there was a small arrangement change for the musical verse Paul continued using the acoustic guitar. Underneath the acoustic guitar Billy played a very simple bass line to give the arrangement a more full sound. Pat kicks the drum line-in underneath the opening lyric line of the first chorus. Billy wrote a great bass line for the musical chorus. For the second verse the band incorporated a orchestrated arrangement. Over the top of the lead guitar solo Eric sings several lead vocal lines. This ballad is not as good as some of the bands other ballads however, it is not bad either!
6.) "The Monster in Me"-Before going into the main body of the intro this track opens with a Paul Gilbert and Billy Sheehan finger-tapping solo section. Paul carries the last note of the solo section out connecting it with the main body of the intro. The main body of the intro was very reminiscent to the stuff the band was writing on their freshman release. Over the top of the rhythm guitar arrangement of the intro Paul overdubbed several lead guitar licks. There was a rhythm arrangement change for the musical verse. Though it was nothing flashy the bass line Billy played at the beginning of and throughout the verse had an amazing groove! For the musical chorus the rhythm change consisted of Billy bass line following along with Eric's lyric arrangement. After the last lyric line of the chorus Paul plays a couple lead guitar licks. After the second chorus there was a lead guitar solo. After the solo the band slowes the song down just a little. After the third chorus there was a second lead guitar solo. This second solo was actually the major solo section of the song. The coda consisted of several lead guitar licks.
7.) "What If We Were New?"- There was a minor lead guitar solo over the top of this intro section. The rhythm guitar riffs of the intro section were similar to the first Georgia Satellites hit "Keep Your Hands To Yourself" released in 1986. Paul overdubbed a short lead guitar riff connecting the second and third lyric lines of the verse. There was a small arrangement change for the musical chorus. Paul overdubbed a second rhythm guitar riff in between the second and third lyric lines of the chorus. Paul overdubbed a few lead guitar licks connecting the first chorus with the second verse. The way the band arranged the second pre-chorus made the drum line the main instrumentation. After the second chorus there was a breakdown section. This breakdown section leads to a very laid back lead guitar solo. Throughout the rest of the song Paul plays little lead licks over the top of his main rhythm guitar arrangement.
8.) "East/West" -This track opened with lead vocals over the top of an acoustic guitar arrangement. Billy kicks-in the bass line underneath the third lyric line of the opening verse. After the last lyric line of the first verse there was a short musical rest. This musical rest not only connects the musical verse with the musical chorus however, it also is when the drum line kicks-in. There was a minor solo leading into the lyrical chorus. The way Eric arranged the lyric lines of the chorus gave the chorus a "Time After Time" by Cyndi Lauper feel. This was an amazing semi-ballad that really shows not only the individual talent of each member. However, it also shows just how well all four members work well together!
9.) "The Light of Day" -This track was a straightforward in your face Mr. Big song!
10.) "Just Let Your Heart Decide" - This was an amazing Mr. Big sounding song.
11.) "It’s Always about that Girl" -This track is Mr. Big at their finest!!!!
12.) "Cinderella Smile" - This track consisted of a fairly simple Mr. Big intro arrangement. Eric sings several vocal accents over the top of the intro arrangement. The band used basically the same arrangement for the musical verse as the one for the intro. There was an arrangement change for the musical chorus. This had an amazing musical arrangement. After the second chorus there was a lead guitar solo. Billy plays a blistering bass line connecting the lead guitar solo with the third chorus. Of all the songs on this CD this was probably my favorite.
13.) "The Stories We Could Tell" - Before going into the main intro section this track consisted of a minor lead guitar solo. There was an arrangement change for the musical verse. There was a minor lead guitar solo connecting the first chorus with the second verse. After the second chorus there was a major lead guitar solo. The song was just a little on the abstract side however, that did not bother me. Scattered throughout the guitar arrangement Paul played several lead guitar runs.
14.) "Addicted to that Rush" (Live) – Exclusive Bonus Track)
Mr. Big the first super group has returned with '...The Stories We Could Tell'. This CD is the second release the band has recorded since reuniting on May 13, 2008. Though this release is officially, the eighth studio CD released from the band it actually just the sixth with original members, Eric Martin, Paul Gilbert, Billy Sheehan and Pat Torpey. Not long before this CD was released drummer Pat Torpey announced he had been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease (A brain disease characterized by a tremor and muscular rigidity). As a drummer and a fan of Pat's this was very devastating news that I just did not want to believe!
There are a couple of interesting facts about the way the band recorded this release. One was that the guys were so busy with other projects that so many of the parts were recorded without the others present. Call me old school however; I do not like recording music this way. I have just always felt you get a better product if all the band members are in the studio at the same time. However, I understand because of band members scheduling it can be very difficult to record this way. The other fact came from Sheehan himself. From the way I understand it Pat did not actually play drums live in the studio. In fact, Pat worked with Pat Reagan and programmed most if not all of the drum tracks. If this was the actual case you sure could not tell the difference.
The thirteen songs on this CD are a gradual progression from their 2011 'What If' release. Too me Mr. Big has never released a bad CD and this release is the same. If you are a fan of Mr. Big than '...The Stories We Could Tell' would make a great addition to your CD collection!