Mr. Big: ‘Defying Gravity’

Released on July 24, 2017 (Frontiers Music Srl)

I have to start by saying that I’m surprised my fellow Sleaze Roxx reviewers haven’t jumped at reviewing this album like moths to a flame. I, for one, have been eagerly anticipating its release since it was announced by Frontiers Records on their Facebook page.

I can’t really say that I’ve been a life long fan of Mr. Big. Of course, I’ve known of them since the ’90s. I’ve listened to their hits before and recognize Eric Martin‘s voice, but not until I saw him perform live alongside Tobias Sammet with Avantasia in Mexico City back in 2013 on The Mystery of Time tour, did I really decide to jump into their discography. He really impressed me during that concert. His voice and enthusiasm with the crowd rivaled even the ever-cheerful Tobias.

So jump into their discography I did, and hard rock magic happened. I can now say that I’m a fan of Mr. Big, to the point that I’ve managed to track down a copy of the original pressing of Lean Into It on vinyl for my collection.

Fast forward a few years (for me, because they’ve been at it for 25+ years now) and we get their latest effort, Defying Gravity. I’m not sure if the title is somewhat based on whatever seems to be happening on Eric Martin‘s face these days but the important thing is that his voice has stood the test of time and both him and the rest of the band sound just like they did back in the early ’90s. Anyway… back to the review now.

“Open Your Eyes” is everything you could wish an opening album track to be. It builds, explodes and delivers a knockout chorus. “Defying Gravity” is no slouch either, delivering some memorable riffs from Paul Gilbert. In fact, I’ll stop here a little and say that Gilbert‘s axe work on this album is excellent, especially considering that most of his solos were tracked live with the band. “Everybody Needs a Little Trouble” is the most straight hard rock track of all. It has an infectious groove while Gilbert‘s guitar solo grabs listeners by the neck. “Damn I’m In Love Again” is this album’s catchy ballad reminiscent of classics such as “Wild World.”

“1992” is pure genius! An absolute highlight of the album (as if most of the other tracks aren’t anyway). The music’s great, but the lyrics make it magic, talking about how they hit number 1 on the Billboard charts with “To Be With You” in February of 1992. You just have to love a band that can tell a part of their history in such a way as this.

Production-wise the album is quite good too, even though the Dynamic Range is crushed to a mere 6, producer Kevin Elson manages to make up for it by way of his mixing abilities, which are just so smooth on the ears no matter what volume it’s played at. The sound has a lot of depth to it and nicely reproduces the qualities of the band’s first three albums — which Elson also produced. For our casual audiophile reader out there, I recommend getting the 24-bit version sold at HDTracks (and other HD audio sites) which adds some depth and dimension to the sound and is well worth its price.

Soooo… I’m really excited about Mr. Big coming to Mexico — for the first time ever, mind you — in September. Especially now with this album under their wing, and I expect, this being their first visit, that the setlist will include many classics but I won’t mind at all if a few of these new songs are included as well.

Every album Mr. Big has released since joining the Frontiers label has surpassed its predecessor and Defying Gravity is no exception. I believe in many ways it’s comparable with Lean Into It — polished production and songs tailor made to be singles — and surely their best effort in recent years. Not that What If… and …The Stories We Could Tell haven’t been good, but this one is much more consistent on a song by song basis.

Defying Gravity grooves, rocks and the songs are as catchy as hell. These guys are hard rock veterans and it shows. Every single song has something going for it. The album is sure to be on my top albums of the year. Have a listen (if you haven’t already) and let me know if you agree — or not, and think my review is pure bullshit in the comments below.

Track List:
01. Open Your Eyes
02. Defying Gravity
03. Everybody Needs A Little Trouble
04. Damn I’m In Love Again
05. Mean To Me
06. Nothing Bad (About Feeling Good)
07. Forever And Back
08. She’s All Coming Back To Me Now
09. 1992
10. Nothing At All
11. Be Kind

Band Members:
Eric Martin – vocals
Paul Gilbert – guitar
Billy Sheehan – bass
Pat Torpey – drums

Produced and mixed by Kevin Elson

Band Websites:
Official Website

Reviewed by Eduardo for Sleaze Roxx, August 2017

Mr. Big‘s “Defying Gravity” video:

Mr. Big – “Defying Gravity” (Official Music Video)

Subscribe To Be Alerted When We Add New Videos – / From the album DEFYING GRAVITY. Get your copy NOW:…

Mr. Big‘s “Everybody Needs A Little Trouble” video:

Mr. Big – “Everybody Needs a Little Trouble” (Official Music Video)

Subscribe To Be Alerted When We Add New Videos – / From the album DEFYING GRAVITY. Get your copy NOW:…

Mr. Big‘s “1992” song:

Mr. Big – “1992” (Official Audio)

Subscribe To Be Alerted When We Add New Videos – / From the album DEFYING GRAVITY. Get your copy NOW:…