Picture of Winger


Winger - Winger ©1988 Atlantic
1. Madalaine
2. Hungry
3. Seventeen
4. Without The Night
5. Purple Haze
6. State Of Emergency
7. Time To Surrender
8. Poison Angel
9. Hangin On

Behold: Butt rock!

Although the name of Winger serves as a joke in and of itself (witness Beavis and Butthead's picked-upon associate, Stuart, and his infamous t-shirt), this particular gem of '80s Hair Metal™, Winger's self-titled debut, contains a handful of genuinely decent tunes. "Madalaine," "Seventeen," and "Headed for A Heartbreak" gained well-deserved popularity through repeated airplay on rock radio; the remainder of the album is best described as competently played but compositionally generic and worthy of its relatively unknown fate.

The aforementioned three songs are by far the best of the lot and deserve a quick rundown. "Madalaine" is, unsurprisingly for the genre, a song in praise of a rock'n'roll chick who lives her life on the edge…but in spite of the less-than-original theme, it's a keeper, probably because of its lack of whammy-bar histrionics. "Seventeen" is a rockin' paean to underage nookie; it has a great hook and afficiandos of guitar-solo fretboard calisthenics will latch on to this one. "Headed for A Heartbreak" is the album's token power ballad, which is usually a crappy affair on most albums, but Winger's take on this hackneyed genre is redeemed by a tasteful balance of swagger and schmaltz. The song manages to be suitable for slow dancing at high-school ceremonial rhythmic functions without losing its essential rock'n'roll crunch.

Since we've discussed the best songs, we must distribute the booby prize--and it goes to the cover of Jimi Hendrix' acid rock classic "Purple Haze." Not much use in belaboring the point…but it's hard to see the point of covering this.

Overall, it's not a great album…but there are many worse '80s hair bands out there with less redeeming value and, seeing as how Winger has three good songs, there's no need to run screaming from the used bin at the sight of this disc. However, there isn't much point in spending more than four bucks, including tax, for it, either.

Review by Jonathan Arnett

Review date: 05/2000

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