City Slang: “State of Shock” revisited

Urrgghh, there is so much that I detest about Ted Nugent. I hear the man speak about any issue bordering on serious, and I want to bury my own face in concrete. He’s obviously an imbecile, and his recent newspaper editorial, in which he basically said that poor people are poor because of their own doing, because of a series of bad decisions, highlighted the fact that he has no real clue about how the world works, much less in his own hometown.

BUT, and this is a big but (hence the capitals), I differ from many in that I won’t allow my hatred for the dude’s politics to have any effect on the way I see his music. I think he is misguided, spoiled and stupid, but that doesn’t change the fact that he’s an incredible guitar player.

I love the Amboy Dukes material, I love Cat Scratch Fever, and I even love the Damn Yankees. But let’s take a minute to revisit State of Shock, his fourth album and the first Nugent solo record not to go platinum.

I’m not sure why that is. Maybe it’s because Nugent isn’t playing the fool quite so much here (although you wouldn’t know it looking at the cover art). This is actually a stellar, mature classic rock album. The rockers are here, in the shape of “Bite Down Hard” and “Snake Charmer”, but listen to the ballad “Alone” and you can barely believe that it’s Nugent at all.

”Paralyzed” is the best known song on the album, with “Saddle Sore” also a fan fave. But none of this stuff is big or clever. This is just well-executed, fun and bouncy hard rock. Enjoy the ride, and ignore the interviews.

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