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XXX

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Album Review

Theoretically, aging wouldn't be that difficult of a trick for ZZ Top to pull off, since the little ol' band from Texas is thoroughly grounded in the blues, an ageless music that can sound equally good from the young and old alike. So why does ZZ Top sound stiff on XXX, a record celebrating their 30th anniversary? Part of it could be that the songwriting is decidedly lightweight, but a band as seasoned as ZZ Top should be able to make even third-rate material at least listenable. The real answer may be that he band long ago sacrificed organic rhythms for a steady, synthesized pulse. They suggested this even before 1983's Eliminator, but that record was a bizarre, unpredictable masterstroke; after all, nobody would have predicted that a blend of Texas blues-rock and new wave drum machines would work, let alone flourish. Yet the massive success of Eliminator made ZZ Top reluctant to abandon that sound; on every album since, they retained the steady click track, even as they stripped away the synthesizers. Each album of the '90s suffered because of this, including XXX. It should have been more of a celebratory release, not another post-Eliminator outing.

Biography

Formed: 1970 in Houston, TX

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

This sturdy American blues-rock trio from Texas consists of Billy Gibbons (guitar), Dusty Hill (bass), and Frank Beard (drums). They were formed in 1970 in and around Houston from rival bands the Moving Sidewalks (Gibbons) and American Blues (Hill and Beard). Their first two albums reflected the strong blues roots and Texas humor of the band. Their third album (Tres Hombres) gained them national attention with the hit "La Grange," a signature riff tune to this day, based...
Full bio