Frontiers Records
Release date: October 7, 2003

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

Change is Richie Kotzen’s seventh solo album. Lucky for us, the ex-Poison and ex-Mr. Big guitarist knows what he’s doing.

The album starts out strong with the hardest song, “Forever One”, providing plenty of opportunities for Kotzen to show off his guitar work. The second song, “Get A Life,” is probably the best on the record, although it’s tough to pick just one. It rocks, and it’s catchy as hell. Kotzen goes to an acoustic guitar on the title track, and it’s another great song. “Don’t Ask” has a light melody, but the chorus shows a lot of edge: “Don’t ask me if I love you/’cause I don’t … Can’t you see/ I’m doing so much better on my own?” The contrast of the sweet melody and the sharp lyrics works well. “Deeper” is another good pop-rock song that has a chorus you’ll find yourself singing for days after – even if you’re like me and don’t know the whole thing word-for-word yet. Just try to make sure no one else is around to hear you, and no one can see you through your car window. “High” is another example of a song that, without the lyrics, sure sounds like a love song. Except, there’s the whole lyric thing: “… how long can/I take you/you should know that/the only way I can deal/is to get High/so High/until everything’s gone/and I can say a word … When I am away from you my head is strong/when I am near you make sure my mind is gone.” Now that’s a guy who knows what it’s like to be married. (Just kidding, honey.) Ahem.

The album lags a bit with“Am I Dreamin’,” but an acoustic version of “Shine” – which Kotzen wrote for Mr. Big’s 2001’s Actual Size – is outstanding. Kotzen’s voice really comes through on “Shine,” and it’s a good voice. Not great, but it dovetails perfectly with his songs.

At that point, the record veers off into another direction with “Good For Me,” “Fast Money Fast Cars,” and “Unity.” “Good For Me” is a slower, soulful bluesy number. “Fast Money” sounds like a title for a brainless, glam-metal song. Or a country song. It’s neither. The heavy bass line, backing vocals, and Kotzen’s ‘70s-era guitar sound makes for a funky change of pace, and a damn fun song. “Unity” is a true jazz number. Kotzen’s guitar ability jumps out of the speakers, but I’m not sure if this song “fits in” with the rest of the record. Oh well. The caboose of the album (the last song, not the butt) is a bonus track, an acoustic version of “High.” Again, Kotzen’s voice mostly stands alone on this one, and it does just fine.

It’s hard to pigeonhole Change. There’s a couple definitely hard rock songs, some slower-tempo and acoustic stuff, and then the blues/funk/jazz injection into the later songs. The thread throughout is Kotzen’s solid musicianship and songwriting. This is one of those albums that I liked the first time I listened to it, and still gets better each time through. You really should go buy it right now.


  • Ross Swinton

    Ross was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio. His first recollection of listening to Rock music was at a party in the early '70s, and Thin Lizzy, Electric Light Orchestra, The Who, and Nazareth made him pick up his first Air Guitar and Rock-On! He spent 23 years, from the age of 16, in the Army and wandered around the globe getting paid for travelling to far, sometimes near, exotic, though sometimes dangerous, lands and had a blast whilst doing it. Since leaving the Army in ’98, he has settled near his hometown, just a few miles from Edinburgh, Scotland. Here he helps local bands by recording demos and albums; building them websites; helping put on gigs for them, and generally helping them build up a fan base.

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