At 58-years-old, Ted Nugent is just as full of bravado and bullish bad behavior on his 32nd album as he was when he first bared his chest, put on a feather head dress and preened on a stage forty years ago. Out of his mind, but at the top of his game, he rips and snorts through 13 flamethrowers masquerading as mere songs, showing exactly why he belongs on the very top of rock's slagheap. While his songs are a sneering affront to good taste, they crackle with danger, sedition, and as much raw power as a Stooges disc—in fact, if you close your eyes and listen, his voice is eerily similar to Iggy Pop's, not to mention having a similar sense of the absurd, like on the track "Girl Scout Cookies," where he manages to make his preferences for a particular kind of treat sound downright dirty, bending those double entrendres like they were gooey chocolate covered pretzels. "Bring those cookies over here, I like the thin mints, Nobody likes a fat mint
," he leers, putting a lascivious spin on fat. But when the Motor City Mad Man extols his virtues on the title track "Love Grenade" he seems strangely humanized, an unexpected fool for love, and because of it, a more formidable weapon than KISS's "Love Gun," where the song seems to have taken its inspiration from. But despite all his bluster and braggadocio, there is a finely honed sense of musicality and a guitar virtuosity that is as expressive as B.B. King's or George Harrison's, grounding his often heartfelt beliefs and his right-of-center convictions in a way that mere words can't, because underneath all hard formidable-shell, Nugent is a big softie. Listen to "Spirit of the Buffalo" to hear the soul of the man, and his reverence for those things we cannot see. Also very revealing is his re-recording of "Journey to the Center of Your Mind," the psychedelic anthem that he first recorded (but did not sing) with his modish band, the Amboy Dukes back in 1967. Download Ted Nugent's "Love Grenade" here.
Download Ted Nugent's "Journey to the Center of the Mind" here.