MR. BIG – Lean Into It [30th Anniversary Edition]

MR. BIG - Lean Into It [30th Anniversary Edition]
  • 8.5/10
    MR. BIG - Lean Into It [30th Anniversary Edition] - 8.5/10


Release date: July 30, 2021

[spoiler title=’Metal Express Radio – Ratings Scale’ style=’default’ collapse_link=’true’]

10.0:         Cannot be improved! Perfect, instant classic! Essential in any record collection.
9.5 – 9.9:  Fantastic, spectacular and outstanding!
9.0 – 9.4:  Amazing release! It just lacks that little extra spice to make it perfect.
8.5 – 8.9:  Exceptional release! Will likely rank among top ten albums of the year.
8.0 – 8.4:  Great release! It has many different qualities.
7.5 – 7.9:  Above average! It is an enjoyable release.
7.0 – 7.4:  It is not brilliant, but has many strong points.
6.0 – 6.9:  It has its moments, but is not that strong.
5.0 – 5.9:  Slightly above average, does not stand out. Good outweighs bad by just a little.
4.0 – 4.9:  Just below average, bad outweighs good by just a little.
3.0 – 3.9:  Mediocre. There might be a song or a performance that is enjoyable, but that is it.
2.0 – 2.9:  Very weak! There might be a light at the end of the tunnel, too many flaws.
1.0 – 1.9:  This release gives the word “terrible” new meaning.
0.1 – 0.9:  Awful! Avoid at all cost. There is nothing good to say about this release.


User Review
8.5/10 (1 vote)

The Backstory

Lean into It – The Singles Box Set

2021 marks the 30th anniversary of Mr. Big’s second studio album Lean In To It. To celebrate the occasion, the band’s landmark album is getting the remastering treatment, complete with bonus studio tracks, demos, and instrumentals.

The album is being released on multiple formats including streaming, vinyl, MQA-CD, and SACD. In edition to the full album vinyl, there will be a special box set available entitled Lean into It – The Singles.

Originally released in 1991, Lean In To It peaked at #15 on the Billboard 200 charts, while it’s most notable single “To Be With You” landed the #1 spot for three straight weeks on the Billboard Hot 100.

[Listen to our interview with Eric Martin HERE]

The Album

That is not your ears deceiving you, that is guitarist Paul Gilbert and bassist Billy Sheehan running a Makita drill along thier strings throughout the album’s opener “Daddy, Brother, Love, Little Boy (The Electric Drill Song)”. The track is indicitive of Rock radio in 1991, but also has a danceable groove to it. “Alive and Kickin'” is full of smoky Rhythm and Blues, accented by Eric Martin’s soulful and melodic vocals. Gilbert introduces a slick guitar run to introduce “Green-Tinted Sixties Mind.” The band delivers some great multi-part harmonies on the songs catchy chorus.

If there’s a power ballad on the album that matches the passion of “To Be With You,” it’s the slightly up-tempo cover track “Lucky This Time.” This lost Jeff Paris song is given new life with Mr. Big’s signature harmonies. Martin is in prime voice, Sheehan’s bass is pumping, Gilbert is shredding, and drummer Pat Torpey is snapping the snare. “Never Say Never” is loaded with an infectious guitar lick and bombastic energy. The chorus is instantly recallable.

“Just Take My Heart” is a great emotionally charged ballad that probably gets overshadowed by their mega-hit ballad. And of course that mega-hit song is “To Be With You.” This acoustic track is timeless. It could easily have been released today. Would it be a hit? “Stop Messing Around” and “Wild, Wild Women” have never been released before this re-issue. Both are great tunes and worthy of inclusion. The acoustic version of “Just Take My Heart” is more piano-based than guitar.

“Shadows” and “Strike Like Lightning” previously appeared in the 1990 Charlie Sheen movie Navy Seals. The both have that big movie action feel to it. There are rough demo versions of “Alive and Kickin'” and “Green-Tinted Sixties Mind.” There are four instrumental tracks for musicians to play along with, and a reggae version of “To Be With You.” These bonuses are geared more towards fans that have to have everything. Casual listeners will probably give them a once over and that’s it.

The Verdict

The 30th Anniversary Edition of Lean Into It is certainly the definitive edition of the album. The biggest treat is the addition of the songs from the Navy Seals movie. The demos have been released before, so has the reggae version of “To Be With You.” Musicians may enjoy having the jam tracks, but it’s doubtful that regular listeners would. It seems like they were included to fill up the second disc. Regardless, Lean Into It is a fantastic, harmony driven, blues-laden, rock record. Mr. Big tend to get classified with the hair bands of the late ’80s and early ’90s, but they have more in common with Night Ranger and Foreigner than they do with Ratt and Poison.


CD – Disc 1

1. Daddy, Brother, Lover, Little Boy (The Electric Drill Song) (2021 Remastered)
2. Alive and Kickin’ (2021 Remastered)
3. Green-Tinted Sixties Mind (2021 Remastered)
4. CDFF-Lucky This Time (2021 Remastered)
5. Voodoo Kiss (2021 Remastered)
6. Never Say Never (2021 Remastered)
7. Just Take My Heart (2021 Remastered)
8. My Kinda Woman (2021 Remastered)
9. A Little Too Loose (2021 Remastered)
10. Road to Ruin (2021 Remastered)
11. To Be With You (2021 Remastered)

CD – Disc 2

1. Stop Messing Around
2. Wild Wild Women
3. Just Take My Heart (acoustic)
4. Shadows (2021 Remastered)
5. Strike Like Lighting (2021 Remastered)
6. Love Makes You Strong (2021 Remastered)
7. Alive and Kickin’ (early version)
8. Green-Tinted Sixties Mind (early version)
9. To Be With You (reggae version)
10. Daddy, Brother, Lover, Little Boy (The Electric Drill Song) (minus guitar version)
11. Green-Tinted Sixties Mind (minus guitar version)
12. Love Makes You Strong (minus bass version)
13. Daddy, Brother, Lover, Little Boy (The Electric Drill Song) (minus bass version)

Lean into It – The Singles 7″ Box Set

Single 1
Side A Daddy, Brother, Lover, Little Boy (The Electric Drill Song)
Side B Road to Ruin

Single 2
Side A To Be With You (Single Version)
Side B Baba O’ Riley (Live at NHK Hall, Tokyo, Japan, September 26, 1991)

Single 3
Side A Just Take My Heart (edit)
Side B To Be With You (Live at NHK Hall, Tokyo, Japan, September 26, 1991)

Single 4
Side A Green-Tinted Sixties Mind
Side B Just Take My Heart (Acoustic)

Single 5
Side A Strike Like Lightning
Side B Shadows

Mr. Big (1991) was

Eric Martin – Vocals
Paul Gilbert – Guitar
Billy Sheehan – Bass
Pat Torpey – Drums


  • George Dionne

    George was a contributor here at Metal Express Radio, reviewing albums and conducting interviews, out of Massachusetts, USA. George has contributed to numerous music related websites and blogs, and even managed his own from 2004-2009. George's first assignment was covering a live show by the mighty GWAR. By contrast his later assignments featured Judas Priest, Van Halen, and Bon Jovi. George was also the front man for the South Eastern Massachusetts cover band Sound Tower from 2009-2015.  Sound Tower played 300+ shows across MA and had two original songs on the Cape Cod radio station PIXY 103. George enjoys a good whiskey, scotch, and/or bourbon and fights crime in his spare time.

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