"After their first album, Out of the Silent Planet, Kings x regrouped to try and achieve the nearly immpossible, create a better album. They did with ease. "Gretchen.." finds the band still drwing upon their roots to deliver another batch of nearly perfect songs, each one unique and stellar. "Over My Head" received a minimal amount of airplay on television and somehow failed to make an impact on a metal scene filled with hair bands getting plenty of video rotation and writing poor songs. One can see now why, Kings X never catered to the dismal metal scene of sex, dark themes and juvenile lyrical content. They also happen to be Christians, which didn't help matters much in the metal scene. But the music is by far better than ANY other metal in the late 1980s. "Summerland" should still be in heavy rotation on clasic rock radio these days, but it's not. I could write a short novel about each song on the album because their so easy to comprehend because the logic of the lyrics is so pure and unfettered with double and single entendres. The music is incredibly simple with easy-going melodies that hide the complexity of the song structures. It's my vote as the best metal album of the 80's and in the top five of best metal albums of ALL-Time. I really do hate calling it metal, because of all the baggage that comes with "metal". So let it be ROCK. A must have in ANY collection. This album, folks, is the unheard of gem that awaits you by purchasing your music outside the box and outside the conglomerate owned media recomendations."
Gretchen Goes To Nebraska
Mr. S. St Thomas | UK | 11/07/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If I could give this album 7 stars I would.
What was begun on Out of the Silent Planet kicks up a notch and presents one of the most cohesive, energetic, and must have albums of any decade. From one song to the next, you are left wondering, where did they get all of this from? Who is supplying them with this much talent, and where can I get some of that. Honest. I am a musician, and just generally a music lover anyway, but I bought King's X's second album on day of release (I had bought their first soon after it came out), and I was just a FAN. This band to me, was the band I was waiting for. In the 80's everything seemed geared to earn capital, and then there was this band with a black lead singer (a big ''no-no'' in the Caucasian rock industry) who could outsing most of the singers I hear then & now. A guitarist who just seemed to come up with these solos you wanted to hear again and again, just so you knew what he was doing. Was he being technical? Was he being improvisational? His guitar playing had as much 'soul' as the lead singer sang with. And the drummer just made the two of them sound so good. All 3 could sing to different degrees, but it was the sound they made together that was just making me almost weep.
Gretchen... is the album to buy for any fan of music in general. Though I do not think it is their definitive work, and I think I have yet to see that anyway, Gretchen is such a wonderful introduction to what King's X are/were about that it is indispensable. It was also on this tour that I first saw them live. Everyone in that audience knew all the parts of the songs as if they came just to show King's X they knew their songs. I have never been to a live show that had that kind of effect on people. Never, and I have been to a lot of shows by tons of different artists. King's X had a power that people responded to in droves, but the popular culture seemed to not want to know so quickly about them. I can think of many reasons why that hardly seems fair, but such is Life.
You can hear King's X's influences on their first 4 albums, but its the way they have blended them together that produces something very original, and unto itself. I cannot say there is one song that stands out over any others, they are all that good, and show many different sides to each member of King's X (which is heard better on their solo albums as to who provides what to the band's sound).
I try and point to one song in particular, and have to give up, because not one song on this album defines it. They are all essential, but I know my favourite Ty guitar solo is on ''I'll Never Be The Same'.
Do not let the Christian tag dissuade you. As I said in another review, this band never made me run out to a Church to go and find God. They made me realise quite a few things, but I did not go out and ''find religion'' after hearing a King's X album. This band is about Faith, Hope and Love, and they have'had this in abundance on their first four albums, and that is what carried through beyond any Christian rock tag that they suffered with, and stopped people from actually enjoying a band that is one of American rock's most important bands. The sound of hard rock took a giant swerve when King's X arrived on the scene."
Best Rock Album over the past 20 years
David Koblentz | Edison, New Jersey | 10/14/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"For the uninitiated King's X has managed to bend the rules of traditional rock by adding the folowing elements: soul, metal, vocal three part harmonies (ala the Beatles), blues, funk and spirituality. This album is uplifting to anyone of any belief. The music reaches inside and grabs you with catchy rythms, beyond excellent musicianship (without being overly technical), and soaring vocals. This is the best album I own and gets better with each listen. The classics: Over my Head, Summerland, Mission, Pleaides"
Simply the best album ever recorded.
Gary Huckabay (firstname.lastname@example.org) | Davis, California | 08/02/1998
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Gretchen Goes to Nebraska is a carefully-engineered album of unparalleled power, beauty, and musicianship. The vocals of Doug Pinnick are truly archival; there is no other vocalist in any rock genre to which one dare compare him, and he's at his finest on tracks like "I'll Never Be the Same" and "Over My Head". Drummer Jerry Gaskill lays down a base for the multi-layered harmonies of voice and string in a style reminiscent of John Bonham without being derivative in any way, and brings a truly distinctive feel to each track. Guitarist Ty Tabor's fantastic tone and tantalizing riffs can make one get lost in the music instantly, and his wonderfully-constructed and executed solos on songs like "The Burning Down" remind you why guitarists did solos to begin with. This album is a testament to the balance of power and control, and the lyrics and music go far beyond reasonable or unreasonable expectations. There is no musician who understands ! why King's X has not become the most popular band on the face of the earth, and no listener who isn't grateful each time they produce another fantastic album. I'd love to give you a band to compare them to, but it just isn't possible. One description I've heard that gets close is a combination of the Beatles, Yes, King Crimson, and Stevie Ray Vaughan. The only description I can use is perfect. Buy this album."
End of a decade, the 80's closes in style...
Duke | New Zealand | 06/10/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I can remember picking up a copy of the "End of year" Rolling Stone magazine and reading a small review on this album, which sounded very interesting to say the least and the cover actually seemed as intriguing! Marillion were "my 80's" band at the time who I enjoyed immensely together with Simple Minds, Big Country, Waterboys and U2. My 70's favorites were largely Genesis and Rush and for some reason I was looking for something a little different and bought this in late 1989.
It is certainly a classic to my ears. It's very melodic and reasonably "riffy" at the same time (check out "Everybody knows a little bit" - The lead vocals, backing vocals, "big" guitar riffs and bass lines, great drumming... a real reflection of the excitement the whole album has. On the other extreme "The Difference" - a beautiful acoustic number.
The music has a lot of depth in terms of its construction (it is very "layered"). At the end of the day it is very passionate, very well played, very well thought out and with the multi layered vocals, big guitar and bass riffs and free flowing drumming I find myself discovering new sounds on each listen.
Doug Pinnink (Lead and backing vocals, Bass), Ty Tabor (Lead and backing vocals, Guitar and Sitar), Jerry Gaskill (Backing vocals, Drums) do make a great sound together and there a lot of passion in the playing and singing. Producer Sam Taylor I think also works well with them in getting that sound. (A bit like, in my opinion, Rush with Terry Brown (it just feels complimentary - Band and producer).
I would suggest not passing this one up. Check out a few tracks, I believe you'll be keen to hear the whole thing and won't be disappointed - perhaps start with a few of the rockers ("Over my head", "Everybody knows a little bit", "Fall on me") and then a couple of more acoustic tracks ("Summerland", "The Difference", "Pleiades"), there is just so much superb music here.
The 90's and what was to become known as "Grunge" was just around the corner. For me this album was "the new sound" it really blew me away, never heard anything like it up to that point. It was a different style of music than I would normally have listened to and this album and the follow up "Faith, Hope, Love" (1990) were two of my favorite albums of the early 90's. Certainly a change in the type of music I'd experienced up till 1989, but one that just left me going "Wow!" from the first note to the last.
I hope you enjoy this album as much as I do, it's a classic. "