Cons: The inclusion of the spoken word ditty that is so out of place here
The turning point for the band J. Geils was the release of this album, "Love Stinks". With this work, Geils moved into mainstream rock and roll. It also spawned their first major hit, the title track.
For the Geils lover this album is a mixed blessing. It still has the old R & B feel of the previous recordings, but it is evident that the band was going in a new direction. We are now going to get the more commercial and highly polished version of J. Geils. The production values on this album are substantially better than ever before. I guess this is the tradeoff, losing the raw emotions of their previous work for the crisper, sleeker sound.
The first song on this album is "Just Can't Wait". This is a fine example of the new production values. This song instead of having the gritty feel that the lyrics inspire, takes on more of a "pop" feel. Musically the band is trying out some new techniques. A great little guitar solo from Mr. Geils is the first example. Never before has the guitar been so loud and proud on a studio recording. The R & B melody line is interwoven with a really light sounding organ that produces a quality piece of radio ready tough sounding pop. This is what the band is leaning to and it has accomplished what it set out to do! This is a very good song all things considering. The first time I listened to it I was looking at the cover to make sure this was J. Geils but after a few listens, I became a convert to the new sound.
Next up is a song that is more like the older Geils band. "Come Back" is a song that again uses the keyboards as an intricate part of the melody line. The combination of this with the chopping guitar of Geils, makes this one a song that could be considered more of a throwback to the older version of the band. There is some really great music played in during the bridge that is pure funk. Just listen to the drums that dominate at this point. This is a very unusual song in many aspects. The band is trying to fuse the two styles and it works for most of the song. There is a synthesizer ending that seems to me to be out of place but it still is another good song by this band.
"Takin' You Down" is a song that lets the gritty sound of the band to surface again. This one is the type of song that the band has been doing for years. The choppy guitar work by Mr. Geils and the great harmonica of Magic Dick takes this song back to the sound of the original band. The production on this song cleans up the rough feel a bit but still I am starting to thing that this is not a bad thing by this point.
Now it is time for some foot stompin' rock and roll! "Night Time" is done in the classic style of Geils. The crunching rhythm section that echos the vocals of Peter Wolf, while the rest of the band does a funky jam is vintage J. Geils. This piece became a concert highlight and rightfully so. A great rocker.
Next is a bit of album filler. The talking story called "No Anchovies, Please". This story, part secret agent man, part star trek, is really a waste of time. There is nothing here that really makes any sense at all, unless you have a wife that reminds you of a bowling ball.
This brings us to the title track, "Love Stinks". This song is one of the best songs that this band has ever produced. A great rocker all the way around. This song starts out with a driving drum then a loud crunching guitar sets the tone of the song. Wolf sings this song about the downside of love with a vengence. He spits out the chorus with a true venom. It might have something to do with the fact that he had recently broke up with his girl Faye Dunaway. This song highlights all aspects of this band. The harmonies are great, the irony that this band puts into so much of it's work and the musical ability of everyone involved! A great rock and roll record.
Taking off from the previous song is the heavy guitar laden "Tryin' Not To Think About It." This song is the most bluesy of anything on the album. A great beat and again Wolf snears at his ex with this bit about the legal battles that they had. I think that this would give anyone a case of the blues! One of the really great songs off this album when you relate what he is talking about. The whole feel of the song is one of pure vengence. Pay backs are h*ll he is saying to her. One of the songs I would put on when I was dealing with my divorce. It will give you the determination to not back down and get through it.
Next is a slow piece that is haunting in it's presentation. "Desire (Please Don't Turn Away)" is a song that reflects on the days when us guys did most of our thinking with something other than our brain. This song is very chilling in the effect that it produces. The way that Wolf whispers the chorus is pure gold!
The last song on the album is a great rendition of the song "Till The Walls Come Tumblin' Down". A fantastic blending of big band sound with rock and roll. A great ending that became their finale in concert. This song is one that is harsh and loud and does not let up from start to end. The guitar work is fabulous. The band lends a great effect with the chorus of "Oh yeah" at critical times. This is the type of stuff that will stick with you. When I listened to this record yesterday, I was singing the chorus for the whole day!
This is one of the more complete J. Geils efforts. This and the follow up, Freeze Frame established them as legitimate rock stars. To many though it marked the end of the funky little band from Boston. But, the good side of it is that both versions are high quality rock and roll!!
This is good honest rock n roll music with a lot a bounce and pizazz. Peter Wolf sings with alot of style and emotion while the band lays down all the right riffs. Not quite a clasic but there are enough good songs to make a worthwhile listen every so often.