CRUDE DUDE RECORD REVIEW #5.
Winger’s sistine chapel of their impressive but misunderstood legacy was the band’s third album, Pull. The only problem? It came out in 1993.
Poor bastards…they never stood a chance.
CRUDE DUDE RECORD REVIEW #5
WINGER – PULL
Review by: Uncle TNUC
First, please excuse the horrendous album cover. What was with bands during this time suddenly changing their logos and releasing dull album artwork? This dreary look may have worked for Alice in Chains, but not so much here.
To be perfectly honest, Pull was my Winger gateway drug. I was familiar with the band’s bigger hits, but this album really slapped the sense into me that these boys were not fucking around. This wasn’t Warrant or Bang Tango. Just listening to the fusions of styles and technical skill that Winger brought to this record, I quickly realized the magnitude of talent within this band. It also occurred to me that this notion probably went over a number of people’s heads during that latter part of the decade.
The big difference between Pull and the previous two records is the meatier sound and muscly production. It’s still the Winger we all know, but more aggressive and packed with louder, thicker grooves. Again similar to many of these Crude Dude reviews, the band had clearly gravitated to a “bigger” sound and were undoubtedly at the top of their game.
It’s a shame Pull went unnoticed by so many because once again, if record labels and mainstream radio weren’t humping the leg of grunge so hard, the album would’ve reached more listeners and been more successful. Fans would’ve grasped onto the fact that Winger had morphed into a guitar-squealing wrecking machine by album numero 3. I’m serious. Any existing pop comparisons to bands like Poison and Bon Jovi would be silenced and slit at the throat from these 10 songs.
Find a rock record with a juicer, slicker production and I will grant you the keys to TNUC’s freshly waxed 4×4. You won’t! It’s one my most beloved heavy metal albums and it sits comfortably beside my favorite Mötley, Def Lep and WASP albums. But Winger are a band still rarely lumped in with those bands. How come?
#1 Their early successful hits “Seventeen” and “Headed for a Heartbreak” came at a time in 1988 when the dynamic in heavy metal, hair metal, hard rock (whatever you call it) was changing. More and more bands were dropping their glam/pop sensibilities and adopting a rougher edge thanks to Guns N’ Roses exploding. With these initial two hits, Winger earned early success but rock fans didn’t take them seriously enough to leave a lasting impression. Due to this disconnect, people didn’t realize there was way more to this band beneath the surface. In reality Winger could run CIRCLES around most bands of that era, talent wise. They also had a progressive-rock edge to them which is seldom talked about!
#2 Kip Winger’s hunky qualities complete with that pearly white smile threw a large number of dudes off. While the ladies ached and swooned at the sight of this great rock vocalist twirling around on stage and humping the air, some of the male audience tuned out. It was a blessing but perhaps a curse as well. I for one never understood this. I can switch from Slayer and Obituary to Winger with ease. Never an issue. (The red hot rocker did actually pose for Playgirl in the May 1991 issue. Again, no issue with Uncle T as he has three copies at home.)
#3 It’s been well documented that Winger’s career took a serious plunge thanks to that no-talent turd Mike Judge (creator of Beavis & Butt-head). When the show decided to have the wet noodle character “Stewart” always wearing a Winger shirt, the overall message was that Winger were probably uncool. While the Beavis & Butt-head characters wore Metallica and AC/DC merch, the dweeb of the show walked around in a Winger shirt. Shitty move.
Common denominator of all these reasons? Bad timing.
Turn the clock back four years and a song like ‘Spell I’m Under’ would’ve achieved monster ballad success. Listening now leaves me baffled and a little emotionally scarred that it didn’t dominate radio and knock some moody grunge stuff off the charts in ’93. Blame the media! This song should have spent years rocking hot dates, prom nights, basement make-out parties and Friday nights at “the point”.
This is an album that needs to be listened to in full. Do yourself a favor and pick up Pull at your local record shop or Amazon, which probably won’t run you over $2. If you happen to be in the Los Angeles area this weekend, Winger are playing a show at the world famous Whiskey a Go Go on the Sunset Strip tomorrow night! (11/11/2016) Come find Uncle T trying to split a pizza with Kip Winger down the street at the Rainbow Bar & Grill before the gig.
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