Criminally Overlooked And Underrated Albums :
Artist : Badlands
Album : Badlands (Self Titled 1989)
Released : May 11, 1989
Metal Mofo Album Rating : 5/5 (Jake E. Lee’s Finest Musical Statement.)
I always find it hilarious that during one of our many Zakk Wylde rants that many of his fans feel the need to attack Jake E. Lee. The biggest argument being that once Jake was fired by Sharon, and Ozzy Osbourne by a telegram of all things (truly class acts) that Jake seemed to disappear never to be heard from again. Of course these people don’t realize that making such a statement makes them sound like absolute fools. Not only did Jake move on to something new, not wanting to do anything that sounded like his time with Ozzy, but as the years have passed it has proven to be one of the greatest artistic statements of the late 1980s. The band that Jake formed, and the album that was recorded known now as “Badlands” may be the most criminally underrated Hard Rock record recorded in the late 1980s.
This is a record that was never truly given a chance by the label. It makes you wonder why Atlantic Records even bothered to sign the band. Obviously they were expecting more of a “Hair Metal” sound, instead they were shocked to get an album with much more of a “Zeppelin-Esque” sound. Atlantic Records really didn’t do anything to promote, or show they had any faith in the record. Shocking to say the least especially since they are the label Zeppelin was on.
If this album had been shown the respect it deserved Jake E. Lee’s legacy might truly be different. Drummer Eric Singer might not even be known as a Peter Criss Imposter, and bass player Greg Chaisson might be a household name, but sadly that wasn’t to be. The band would receive even more backlash from the label once they were ready to record a follow up, demanding Bon Jovi songwriter Desmond Child be involved with the material. The band protested and soon they were out of a record deal, especially once the Grunge genre took off. To make matters worse, lead singer Ray Gillen would die from AIDS at the end of 1993. By that point a broken hearted Jake E. Lee had seen enough of everything that was bad in the music business, and go into a self imposed seclusion for many years.
Legendary guitar player Eric Clapton once said “it doesn’t matter how well an album has sold at the time of it’s release. If the music is good people will eventually start listening and respecting it.” And that’s exactly what’s happened with the Badlands album. The album has aged beautifully gaining a new respect by both music fans and musicians who overlooked it at the time it was released. This is an album that truly deserves to be heard. Do yourself a favor and give it a shot.
1. High Wire
2. Dreams in the Dark
3. Jade’s Song
4. Winter’s Call
5. Dancing on the Edge
6. Streets Cry Freedom
7. Hard Driver
8. Rumblin’ Train
9. Devil’s Stomp
11. Ball and Chain
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