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"Famous" (Geffen; 2007)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

The fact that former Black Flag drummer Bill Stevenson produced Puddle of Mudd's "Famous" might explain why the new album has more oomph than the previous Puddle of Mudd CD. Oh, don't get me wrong - this is still Puddle of Mudd with their famous and continuingly popular style of radio friendly hard rock, but "Famous" has a bigger, stronger sound than its predecessors. Even the ballads sound bigger and more confident.

Much of this, of course, can be attributed to a band continuing to grow as they create, record and tour. The aforementioned confidence of the band here is palatable and "Famous" is the better for it.  The songwriting is stronger, the production is bigger and the band delivers the "kick ass rock'n'roll" as promised by vocalist Wesley Scantlin.

Of course, the band reportedly scrapped the original recordings of this album and re-recorded them, forcing it from a July 2007 release date to the current October 2007 release. That second chance to review and replace what didn't work with what did might have given the band the chance to smooth out some rough edges. Or, it might have led to the slightly uneven (but mostly non-distracting) feel of the album as a whole.

Puddle of Mudd fans won't be disappointed with "Famous" while those unfamiliar with the band will either find the CD to be an excellent reason to look into more of the band's back catalog ... or just another reason to ignore it.

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"Life on Display" (Flawless/Geffen; 2003)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

This is one of those weird reviews to write. Why? Because I really like Puddle of Mudd's "Life on 'Display." It's an engrossing and involving record, well-performed, well-written and crisply produced. If someone on the street asked me if I liked this album or the band's previous album better - I'd say I like them both equally.

So why, you may ask, am I only giving "Life on Display" three guitarsaws when "Come Clean" got three-and-a-half back in 2001?

The answer has more to do with the rest of the music world than it does with Puddle of Mudd. When "Come Clean" was released two years ago, Puddle of Mudd's sound was fresh and new. These days, with the avalanche of spongerock bands out there, "Life On Display" just doesn't have that same newness. Bands like Creed and Nickelback - and, of course, Puddle of Mudd - have popularized that sound. Hence, although "Life on Display" is damn listenable, it doesn't have the same impact that "Come Clean" had.

Again, that's not to say it's a bad CD by any means. The songs on "Life on Display" are perhaps better written than on the previous CD and the band's undeniable talent, again, shines through. 

But "Life on Display" does have to live in the shadow of its predecessor and, although that shadow doesn't completely blot out the success of the new CD, it does dim it somewhat. Still, Puddle of Mudd seems to have a future as a band that matters - I just hope they stretch their wings just a bit more in the future.

Puddle of Mudd: Wesley Reid Scantlin - vocals, guitar; Paul Phillips - guitar, vocals; Greg Upchurch - drums, vocals; Douglas John Ardito - bass, vocals. 

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"Come Clean" (Flawless/Geffen; 2001)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

Fred Durst's latest discovery is a guitar-driven band that delivers a strong hard rock sound with a modern influence that never comes near to nu-metal and, surprisingly, never sounds like Limp Bizkit. For some people (like Zakk Wylde), that's the best news of all.

In fact, although I know it'll probably damn this band to grunge hell and that's not fair at all, Puddle of Mudd remind me mostly of Nirvana, sans all that pretentious angst crap. The songs are all well-written ditties with strong lyrics (that never preach or pout) and move along swiftly with solid rhythm.

The CD's best tracks are the first track, "Control," which has a near-irresistible guitar riff and "She Hates Me," which can either be very funny or very serious depending on your state of mind. "Blurry" is an interesting tune because it starts out sounding almost exactly like Twisted Sister's "The Price," but morphs out on its own after a few seconds. (Yeah, Twisted Sister and Limp Bizkit references in the same review. Who'd'a thunk it?)

But please don't let my Nirvana reference steer you away. Visit the Puddle of Mudd website and listen to a couple of tunes and see if you don't agree that Puddle of Mudd is an exciting new band.

Puddle of Mudd: Wesley Reid Scantlin - vocals, guitar; Paul James Phillips - guitar, vocals; Greg David Upchurch - drums, vocals; Douglas John Ardito - bass, vocals. 

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2007 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 28 Aug 2022 15:32:20 -0400.