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Thirty-Five Years Later: Whitesnake – Slide It In

Man, oh man, what a fun album! It’s a damn shame that even on the darkest depths of the internet, I can’t seem to find the actual date of Slide It In’s release. I know it was January, and I know it was 1984, so we’re just gonna discuss its glory now, thirty-five years beyond its release! Think of this as Whitesnake’s version of Lovedrive by Scorpions. It was the record that made Whitesnake big in America. It’s also the last one to feature former Deep Purple keyboardist Jon Lord, as well as former Rainbow drummer Cozy Powell. However, these ‘70s rock influences aren’t really reflected a whole lot in Slide It In.

Despite being such glam-heads, Whitesnake are actually somewhat of a recent encounter for me. I’ve loved the 1987 self-titled record for years, but I never wandered outside of that until the past year or so. I first stumbled upon Slide It In when I heard “Slow An’ Easy” on the SiriusXM Hair Nation radio station; I thought “man, this is one of the sexiest fucking songs I’ve ever heard in my life!” Quite honestly, that’s the easiest way to summarize this entire disc. If the record sleeve and the title of that song (as well as the band’s name) doesn’t give away what they’re all about, then you may need to brush up on their street lingo. Fact of the matter is, as soon as I bought Slide It In, I knew it’d be the one I spin next time I bring a girl home. Sort of a let down considering I had to use my phone thanks to the lack of portability with turntables, but I won’t get into that here.

Yes, yes, this entire album is about sex, love, and all of the joys (and pain) that come with them, but the music itself actually doesn’t come off as corny as you’d think. The title track is actually a heavy banger with a really strong chorus and solid vocal performances. “Slow An’ Easy” takes just the opposite approach, as it’s slow and uses softer guitars to build up momentum, or foreplay, if you will. Then the song bursts with strong drum kicks and a groove-laced guitar lick preceding another strong chorus. I guess it’s safe to say that catchy choruses are what carry a lot of the weight for this record, but rest assured, they’re well-written. Songs like “Hungry For Love,” “Guilty Of Love,” etc. are basically gonna follow this same theme, the latter of the two being a speedy jam-tune that’s packed with energy and vocal harmony.

Guitarist John Sykes

Some tracks I feel get overlooked, and a fine example of that is “All Or Nothing.” When you think Whitesnake, you don’t really think wicked solos, but Jon Lord’s presence can be felt a mile away on this one. There’s a keyboard solo tacked onto the foundation that’s just as beefy as anything he wrote for Deep Purple. Had they not reunited this same year to put out Perfect Strangers, maybe Lord would have stuck with Whitesnake, but that was a fantastic album so I’m not complaining.

And of course, you can’t forget the ballads. I mean really, is there such a thing as glam metal without ballads? (Actually, yes; see every Ratt album up until Detonator). Softer synthy moments can creep in all throughout, but the big one here is “Love Ain’t No Stranger.” Essentially, this is what I call a poor man’s “Here I Go Again.” Same layout: soft intro, soothing singing, a bit more of a rocker in the chorus, and theme of being a lonely man. Yes, I’m sure David Coverdale was so lonely in his heyday of being surrounded by beautiful women. Overall, the best way to sum this whole ride up is that it was something that would follow typical glam standards with a few shake-ups and slightly advanced instrumentation.

You guessed it; we’ve now reached that big question: does this hold up decently today? Well, it’s another one of those two-way street albums that is yes and no. Within the community of people who can’t get enough of this kind of music, it absolutely does. The blues infusion and heavy metal combo that brought this band to America’s attention can be found in any hair band lover’s record collection and is regarded as essential. As a fan myself, I can say that I always spin this record when I’m in a good mood, as it has such great vibes, but there are definitely a few tracks that I’ll just sit through. To me, it’s mostly killer, a little filler.

For those that aren’t into the subgenre, it’s quite forgettable. Thrash seekers (unless you’re me) and speed freaks are gonna scoff at this, as they won’t have time for that kind of nonsense. On the contrary, I do believe there are more than a couple metalheads who would put this band in their guilty pleasure bin. I’ve talked to a few of them myself, but I could be completely wrong on this assumption. For what it’s worth, I recommend at least listening to the songs I called out.

Slide It In came out sometime in January of 1984 on Geffen records. There are plenty of CD, cassette, and vinyl copies of this to go around. There are also re-issues in CD and a white vinyl re-release with an alternate cover available here.

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