If anything good could come from the circumstances the world continues to face in 2021, the new album from Suzi Quatro, The Devil In Me must surely feature at the top of the list.
COVID-19 continues to bring destruction and despair, and without wishing to make light of any of the horrible circumstances people face the world over, how dare this virus conceive of the notion that it could get the better of the queen of rock n roll herself. It was good news indeed, but little surprise to loyal fans, that Suzi Quatro had indeed overcome the horrible effects of COVID and kicked its arse in true rock style.
Due for release on March 26th through SPV/Sledgehammer and available as a CD DigiPak or 2 LP in Gatefold with bonus tracks, (Can I Be Your Girl & Desperado), the cover art of this brilliant collection says it all. A scorching, smoking, sizzling Suzi Quatro in sensational form, stamping her brilliant brand on page 2021 in the annals of music history.
The Devil In Me…OH MY GOD. I had unreasonably high expectations after No Control, but Suzi has still managed to blow those lofty anticipations out of the stratosphere. With the world of live music put on hold for 2020, Suzi and her son Richard Tuckey decided that the year would not go to waste. After stumblin’ in to their magnificent musical partnership in the creation of No Control, which really started with an idea and a few demo recordings, the team is back, and in magnificent form. No Control had many stand-out features that made it an overwhelmingly enjoyable album, but the creative partnership and the organic results, made manifest in the music were the true champions of the collection. With The Devil In Me we bear witness to a maturing of the sound and creativity, all wrapped in a rollercoaster of an album, oozing honesty, diversity, and absolute musical brilliance. With tracks like Get Outta Jail and Isolation Blues, I feel that Suzi will forgive me for referring to this album as a child of lockdown, but what we discover are the results of time and dedicated efforts. No tour schedules or other outside interference, interrupting the creative process. One of the most remarkable elements of this album is how Suzi and Richard have drawn from the well of two lifetimes of musical influence and provided us with a veritable kaleidoscope of styles. From decades of blues-infused stimulation to Motown magnificence, to the magic of classic rock n roll with all the thrill of your first trip down to Devilgate Drive, our dynamic duo have rolled them into such a monumentally brilliant work that has, quite literally, something for everyone. From the first moment, the opening title track envelopes you in the exciting notion that Suzi is far from finished in thrilling the world with her unique and timeless style. The Devil In Me surreptitiously eases the listener into the new collection. It’s only later that you realise how seductive this number is with all its nestled elements of hooky guitar, claps, and harmonica. But subsequently Hey Queenie and then Betty Who? continue the journey so brilliantly and together, after only 3 tracks, they're enough to turn any Mama’s Boy into a Daytona Demon. Little wonder with the contribution of the wonderful Cherie Currie providing guest vocals on Betty Who?
The blending of styles in the haunting You Can’t Dream It, followed by the incredibly emotive My Heart and Soul are your evidence that the skillful writing team can provide the Midas touch to any stylisation, they select as best suited to conveying their musical message. I’m certain that dry eyes would not have been the case when Rainer first heard My Heart and Soul (Need you home for Christmas). Wow!
The diversity and musical mastery continue as the aural journey unfolds before you, and you will certainly have sufficient songs to accompany each passing mood, along with the categorical realisation that this is the culmination of 57 years of The Wild One leading the pack. With live performances Paralysed by the spread of COVID 19, it's little wonder that our Starlight Lady, with son Richard, would harness the angst of no live shows, and turn all that is lacking into a limitless well of creative genius. Now particular mention must be made of the penultimate song, In The Dark. The lyrics, the mood, and the magical musical journey we are taken on are utterly amazing but coupled with the collection finale, we find that unique genius yet again. If some elements of this album were not for you and you keep a knockin’ for the hard rockin’ American Lady, fear not. As the stroke of pure genius that is Motor City Riders revs up and struts forth from your speakers, you will need to hang onto your hat because this is Suzi Quatro. Her entire 57 years rolled into one mighty and monstrous, contemporary rock track that drips heritage with every note. Harking all the way back to her Detroit roots and with all the elements that have maintained her status as the queen of rock n roll over almost six decades, this is the sort of track that brings chart contenders, crumbling to dust with one clear victor standing tall. A song that sees seasoned songsmiths take a knee and pay homage to the queen, victorious and continuing her reign. Oh my god…I’m not worthy. Turn the dial to eleven and hang the hell on, because here comes Suzi Quatro as awesome and magnificent as ever before.
From the very first album in 1973 (Can the Can here in Australia), and through her entire catalog, how beautifully Motor City Riders would nestle into any previous album tracklist. As the final track on this most recent collection, Motor City Riders completes the album more perfectly than anything I can recall. I spoke to Suzi in order to ensure the quote was correct. “The Devil In Me is the best album in my career to date!” It was true. You can see for yourself and hear more to accompany such a profound statement. For a range of reasons, I am inclined to humbly agree with Suzi, but mostly because this is the assessment of the person who has been teaching us what rock n roll is all about for almost sixty years.
The Devil In Me is a masterwork. The work of a musician who had to down tools from live performances, but still sees our adoring faces in the crowd as inspiration. With Richard, Suzi wrote an album from the confines of our COVID plagued existence and produced something that six decades of experience told her would put a smile on the faces of all she has played to before. This is Suzi Quatro at her very finest, and a benchmark album for so many reasons. As an essential addition to your music collection or the beginning of one, this album is a must-have for 2021.
Bravura Suzi, Richard, and the entire creative team. Thank you for making 2021 more bearable as we bask in the glory of the musical mastery that Is The Devil In Me.