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Burtnik, Glen: Welcome to Hollywood

After spinning Welcome to Hollywood, it becomes abundantly clear that Glen Burtnik's stint in Styx was holding him back. The fourth studio album from the multi-instrumentalist and former Styx bassist/guitarist is the best album yet from Sweden's classy Atenzia Records. Burtnik himself calls the songs on Welcome to Hollywood "snapshots of life in the cult of American celebrity, and a postcard from my five years of touring the United States performing rock shows." Big choruses, big production and big ideas characterize this meaty, melodic record, which suffers from neither a bloated sense of self-worth nor a dated sense of musical direction.

Pop, pomp, classic rock, hip-hop and gospel collide on Welcome to Hollywood sometimes all in the same song, as in the case of the near-perfect closer "Muse." There's a savvy mix of rockers (the revved-up title track, the fun "Roses") and ballads (the arena-ready "Another," the starkly stunning "All That's Yet to Come"), and even a rap tune (the relentless "When the Shit Hits the Fan") that's not as bad as you'd think. Burtnik also includes a reworked, punchier power-punk version of "Kiss Your Ass Goodbye," a track from Styx's latest album Cyclorama (and Burtnik's swansong with the band). He says the tune should have been the band's first single but wasn't because longtime members Tommy Shaw or James "JY" Young didn't sing it. Most of the 16 tracks here some full-blown songs and other brief instrumentals or noisy vignettes segue from one to the other seamlessly.

Burtnik, whose voice sorta sounds like a younger, sharper and angrier Tommy Shaw, honed his chops in New Jersey's Asbury Park scene, sharing the stage with the likes of Bruce Springsteen and Southside Johnny before declining membership in a pre-"Runaway" version of Bon Jovi. And despite Welcome to Hollywood's cynical title, he still calls Jersey home. Right now, Burtnik is in the midst of a career renaissance that finds him making the best music of his career. He needed Styx less than Styx needed him, anyway.

Track Listing:
1) Super Boy (4:34)
2) The 101 (0:51)
3) Welcome to Hollywood (4:00)
4) Another (4:32)
5) Bam (4:03)
6) Kiss Your Ass Goodbye (3:10)
7) Heart in 3 (4:14)
8) Intermission (1:13)
9) Roses (3:53)
10) Cry (4:53)
11) When the Shit Hits the Fan (2:42)
12) Spiritual War (1:09)
13) Flash Before Your Eyes (2:07)
14) All That's Yet To Come (3:08)
15) The Muse (4:27)
16) The Muse (Slight Return) (0:57)

Added: July 3rd 2004
Reviewer: Michael Popke
Related Link: Official Glen Burtnik Web Site
Hits: 2900
Language: english

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