Clutch ‘Book of Bad Decisions’ Album Review

Mischievous Mel reviews Clutch's new album 'Book of Bad Decisions' out September 7th


‘Book of Bad Decisions’, the new Clutch album is done in true Clutch style and tradition. With pensive lyrics backed by abrasive riffs and bad ass bass, Clutch once again comes through with an album that is hit after hit from top to bottom.  If I could define Neil Fallon as a vocalist, performer and over all presence, I would say he’s a spoken word, lyrically superior beatnik storyteller. Every Clutch song tells a story.  They’re not just three words strung together and repeated as a moronic chorus, but a full story.  Stories with a plot and depth that create musical theater that brings us on a voyage of sound and words, woven to perfection and set to music.

There are so many reasons that Clutch is and has remained relevant in the music scene year after year and on stage after stage – that is the talent. These veterans of music ooze true passion, not just in reference to their stage performances, but in creating new albums as well. This is what Clutch had to say about ‘Book of Bad Decisions’, taken from Clutch page, “I’ve never been one for nostalgia,” says Neil Fallon, “I’ve always shied away from it.  But after 27 years of this, I realize that there is a wealth of stories to look back upon as lyrical fodder.  As the saying goes, ‘You don’t know where you’re going until you know where you’ve been.’  Not all the songs reference our collective experience as a band, but ‘Book of Bad Decisions’ seemed like an apt name for these various chapters, whether factual, fictitious, or somewhere in-between.”

I got a sneak listen to the bands 12th studio album, ‘Book of Bad Decisions’. I’ll tell you my reasoning below, but save the date September 7th, 2018 for the worldwide release via their own Weathermaker Music label.  The album was recorded at Sputnik Sound in Nashville, TN by producer Vance Powell (Jack White, Chris Stapleton, The Raconteurs, The Dead Weather) and consists of 15 new tracks. This is a must have for all Clutch Fans.

“Gimme the Keys” is  about the band’s first tour back in 1991, a time when they began to cut their teeth in the live music business, dealt with show cancellations, shady promoters, and other incidents on the road.  One particular show, described as being in a shed surrounded by cornfields in Lawrence, Kansas, ultimately turned ugly over a missing microphone and accusations brought by drunk and gun-toting security people at the end of a long day. The lyrics “Gimme the keys they can keep the guarantee | Gimme the keys and get the hell out of dodge” is a reflection of the mood of that night.

“Emily Dickinson” is a very unique track. I loved it because I love her classic poetry. As a not so secret poet myself, I love her, and I love the way the story was told through the song. Take a listen and hear something that is one of the best songs written and played.

I fell in love with the title track ‘Book of Bad Decisions’. The line, “I wrote another chapter of bad decisions I have made” really resonated with me. Maybe because I am caught somewhere between knowing everything and lost in all things – the line means so much. Maybe it is the groovy music that backs the lyrics… whatever it is it put this song as my favorite on the album. Again this points out why this now iconic band became icons. They are masters at lyrics and backed up with one of the best bands in the music world.

“How to Shake Hands” is again a marriage of deep lyrics that reflect modern times and melded into one hell of a badass song. I give it 10 horns up on a horn scale of 1 to 5.

I could go on and on because the whole album is hit after hit, as all Clutch albums seem to be. In my opinion they’ve never been one of those bands that writes a couple obligitory singles and fills the rest of the album with rubbish of no value – unless it’s being used for torturing an ex (think “Say Anything” in reverse). But I will leave it like this – go check out how to pre-order, and where to see the band live and all things Clutch at the band’s website:


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