Old habits die hard. It is a simple statement but also a very powerful statement. For veteran vocalist Frank DiMino it is a statement that is especially true in listening to his new album Old Habits Die Hard. The eleven-song record exhibits DiMino’s old habits from beginning to end, taking listeners back to the days of big hair and even bigger riffs in every single song. For fans of 80s rock, with all of its pomp and bombast that is a very good thing because this record has every bit of that beginning with the album’s opener ‘Never Again.’ ‘Sweet Sensation is another one of the album’s offerings that exhibits that classic, over-the-top sound. The same can be said of ‘Tonight’s The Night.’ All three songs show in their own respective way the sound on which Frank DiMino thrived in the early days of his career. They are just a few of the songs featured in DiMino’s first solo record that make this musical trip back to the 80s so enjoyable for fans of that age. Songs such as ‘I Can’t Stop Loving You,’ ‘Rockin In The City,’ and ‘Mad As Hell’ are just as notable in making that statement. The classic song of love lost is even there in the form of ‘Even Now.’ Whether for those songs, the ones more directly noted here, or any of the album’s other compositions, the record in whole proves that while old habits may die hard, it’s not always a bad thing.
Frank DiMino’s first ever solo record Old Habits Die Hard is a record that any fan of big hair and even bigger riffs should hear. From beginning to end its songs transport listeners back to the 80s with every element that made “hair metal” so…well…big during its era. The album’s opener ‘Never Again’ is just one of the songs that serves to take listeners on that musical ride back in time. Right from the song’s huge opening drum fill to its equally bombastic guitar line, which runs through the song’s five minute-plus run time, the song harkens directly back to the 80s. The song’s lyrical content, which seems to address a certain woman (or type of woman), is just as familiar as the music that forms the song’s foundation. The topic in question is hinted at as DiMino sings, “Backdoor lover/Undercover/Slip away into the night/Hands up baby/Drive me crazy/Come and step into the night/Reach out/No doubt/Looking for a lover…” He goes on in the song’s chorus to sing, “Caught in the grip with my heart in the palm of your hand/It’s the last time I have told you/Never again.” The song’s final verse is very similar to its lead and second verse stylistically as DiMino again addresses that woman again. Considering what DiMino has to say about said women in the song’s final verse and in the song’s other verses, that woman is definitely something. She is good but also good at being bad it would seem. This is, again, very much the familiar topic for rock acts from the 80s- just as familiar as the song’s huge musical arrangement. Both elements join here to make the song in whole a clear example of what makes OHDH (as it will henceforth be known) a good fit for any 80s rock aficionado. It is just one of the songs that serves this end, too. ‘Sweet Sensation is another one of the album’s offerings that exhibits that classic, over-the-top sound.
‘Never Again’ is a clear example of what makes Frank DiMino’s new solo record OHDH a good fit for any 80s rock fan. That is due to the mix of its lyrical content and its huge musical arrangement. Both elements are completely familiar to fans of 80s rock. It is just one of the songs included in this record that serves to show what makes the record such a good fit for fans of that musical era. ‘Sweet Sensation’ is another example of what makes the album one that 80s rock fans will appreciate. Just as with ‘Never Again’ that is due in part to the song’s musical arrangement. The song’s musical arrangement instantly conjures thoughts of AC/DC with its mid-tempo 4/4 time signature and blues-based guitar line. Though, the inclusion of a keyboard line as a central element in the song’s chorus also conjures thoughts of Deep Purple among other veteran acts. Considering those comparisons, the song’s musical arrangement in itself makes the song stand clearly apart from the other songs included in this record. It is just one part of what makes the song (and ultimately album) stand out. The song’s lyrical content is just as important to note here as its musical arrangement. DiMino sings here, “Taking the midnight train home/So turn your lights down low/I can’t get you off my mind/I just lose all sense of time/Every time you come my way/You take the night out of the day/Everything just melts away/You bring the color to my gray/Feels like the first time/Deep down inside/Sweet sensation/You know where it feels so good/Sweet sensation/The only way it really could.” He continues in similar fashion in the song’s second verse as he sings, “You know the things it takes to please/And bring a grown man to his knees/You can make the sunshine bright/And hide the darkness from the light.” He keeps going on in exactly the same fashion. So needless to say, DiMino doesn’t leave much room for guessing if any at all. It is a classic schmaltzy song lyrically speaking. What is interesting is that the song’s musical arrangement doesn’t match that schmaltzy lyrical content. Rather, it gives the song more of a “come hither” type of feel. This is a guy that is flirting with his subject, not trying to woo her. Again, it is another familiar showing for hair rock fans. It still is not the only other example of what makes OHDH a record that any 80s rock fan will appreciate. ‘Tonight’s The Night’ is yet another example of what makes OHDH a good fit for 80s rock fans.
‘Never Again and ‘Sweet Sensation’ are both key examples of what makes OHDH a good fit for any hair rock aficionado out there. That is due to the songs’ combination of big rock riffs and equally big lyrics. They aren’t the only songs that serve to exhibit DiMino’s throwback approach to his new record. ‘Tonight’s The Night’ is one more example of that throwback sound. That is most evident in the song’s musical arrangement, which is centered on some Poison style guitar riffs. Those riffs are, in themselves based richly in the rockabilly sounds of the 1950s. It’s an interesting juxtaposition, but it still works. Keeping that in mind, it doesn’t take much imagination to know what DiMino’s subject is singing about here. Right off the top, he sings, “It’s gonna happen again/Just a matter of time and a matter of when/The night has just begun/We’re gonna have some fun/Cause’ don’t you know that tonight’s the night/Tonight’s the night/I’m gonna set a date…It’s time to cut use/You know there aint’ no use/Cause tonight’s the night.” He makes note about jumping in the back of his Cadillac, and the heat that can’t be beat. Considering all of this, the song’s subject is pretty clear. The song’s musical energy adds to that pretty clear supposition, too. What’s so interesting is that DiMino doesn’t try to be overly explicit in making the song’s subject so clear. It shows that a song can still be kind of naughty without being downright nasty. At the same time, it can still be fun too. That being the case, both the song’s musical arrangement and its lyrical content work to show clearly why the song is yet another standout addition to OHDH. Together with ‘Never Again’ and ‘Sweet Sensation,’ all three songs show collectively why OHDH is a record that any 80s aficionado will enjoy.
Old Habits Die Hard is a record that any 80s rock aficionado will appreciate. That is regardless of listeners’ familiarity with Frank DiMino’s extensive resume. Songs such as ‘Never Again,’ ‘Sweet Sensation,’ and ‘Tonight’s The Night’ make that crystal clear. They are hardly the only songs that support that statement. ‘I Can’t Stop Loving You,’ ‘Rockin’ In The City’ and ‘Mad As Hell’ each could be used to support that statement just as much as could any of the album’s other featured songs. All things considered, Old Habits Die Hard proves in the long run that sometimes, it’s a good thing that old habits die hard. Old Habits Die Hard is available now in stores and online. It can be ordered online direct via Amazon. More information on Old Habits Die Hard is available online now along with Frank DiMino’s latest news at:
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