Album Review: Kim Mitchell’s ‘Ain’t Life Amazing’

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aint-life-amazing I’ve been a big fan of Kim Mitchell’s stuff since the Max Webster days. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a single track from Kim that I did not like. I guess the intro to “Acrimony” of his Itch album comes closest to something I don’t care for, but I think that was kind of tongue-in-cheek on his part.

With that said, I must admit I was a little disappointed when I had my first listen to Kim’s new album, Ain’t Life Amazing. Before you get yourself all prepared for a crappy review, hold on just a second and let me tell you what happened next.

Well, I listened to it again. And again. And Again. And guess what. Did this album ever grow on me. I’m not sure I am ready to say I like it better than his previous stuff, but the more I listen to this new album, the more I like it.

I’ve always been the kind of guy that often has to listen to a new song or new album a number of times before I can decide if I like it or not. And that is exactly why I usually wait awhile before I pass judgment on anything new.

Now in the past, the “listen to it ten times” rule has not applied when it came to listening to Kim’s stuff and I’ve been on board the first time around. However, when compared to his older stuff, this album is different.

What’s different about this new album? If I had to describe in one word what makes this different from his other stuff, I would have to say “raw.” That’s the way it strikes me.

If you’ve read some of my other recent reviews, you know I am not a fan of live albums. I’m a sound freak and I want to hear the music as pure and as controlled as it can be. Studio conditions, everything mic’d up perfect and engineered to audio perfection. That’s what I like.

And that’s where this album kind of departs from the kind of studio-quality sound I love. No, it’s not that the sound on this album is bad. However, it has an almost “live” sound to it — minus the screaming crowds and lousy acoustics.

That’s probably a big reason that I was turned off a bit after my first run-through with this album, but I’ll tell you, I’ve adapted to it and now I’m really getting into it. Might I prefer it done in a more traditional studio quality way? Maybe, but it’s not something I am worrying about.

My personal favorite tracks from this album are: “In The Stars Tonight,” “N’Awlin Nights,” “Ain’t Life Amazing” and… Oh hell, I think I’m about to list just about every damn song on the album, so why bother?

To sum it up: It’s Kim Mitchell, it’s a bit more raw than his previous stuff and it rocks. What more can I say? I just hope he keeps on writing and keeps on recording because he’s still got it.

2 Comments

  1. Miles Morris March 2, 2008 at 8:04 am

    Nice job on the review here…or hear..hehe. I’m a sound quality freak too always have been. I’m still wondering why I’m hearing some distortion on my CD version of Ain’t Life Amazing ..sorta like what I hear on the Z Z Top stuff as of late…the Hardy effect I guess. But It wasn’t as there at all on Itch? Weird. I have decent gear for playback BYW. I wanted to say I agree with the Raw feeling with ALA. I have everything Kim ever did myself..on CD and Vinyl. I have been awed since seeing Max backing up Rush in May of 1977. I was so into the Max machine back then! I have several letters from Pye, an Lp he sent me ( promo Live Magnetic Air ), post cards.Pye was totaly and it really bugs me to see people trashing the guy now-a-days for some reason. I still think his abilities as a word source for Max Webster made all the difference in the world for that incredible band! Miles *!*

  2. RealRockNews March 2, 2008 at 8:48 am

    Thanks for the comment, Miles.

    Nice to hear from another sound quality freak and a Kim Mitchell/Max Webster fan as well!

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