Editor's note: In honor of the ex-Van Halen singer's 53rd birthday today, Metal-Mixtape revisits his least appreciated album.
David Lee Roth didn't stand a chance when he released Your Filthy Little Mouth in 1994. The real problem wasn't that the shredding licks of ailing ace guitarist Jason Becker were gone. It wasn't that the epicenter of the music industry had shifted from Los Angeles to Seattle, nor that he tapped longtime friend/Chic guitarist Nile Rodgers to help him go pop. It wasn't even that Roth's trademark mane had been toned down in favor of a sedate shoulder-length coif for the album.
The true dilemma was a severe crisis in the songwriting department. Your Filthy Little Mouth suffers from the lack of focus that arises when artists try to borrow from too many musical styles. Tunes like "Cheatin' Heart Cafe" (featuring country star Travis Tritt) and "Hey, You Never Know" are nods to Nashville-fried honky tonk, while "No Big 'Ting" features Jamaican rapper Mitchielous in a lame attempt to tap into the world music market. Then there's "You're Breathin' It," a funk-heavy tall tale about urban living that mixes its metaphors by featuring some very rural harmonica playing. To make matters worse, the song gets the "Urban NYC Mix" treatment at the end of the album. When was the last time you bought a David Lee Roth record to hear a remix?
While dross dominates, there are some redeeming moments. "Big Train" is perhaps one of Tyrannosaurus Roth's finest latter day compositions and hits with the visceral impact of an early Van Halen boogie. Meanwhile, Diamond Dave's cover of "Night Life" by Willie Nelson has all the slow and gritty grace of a Motown soul ballad. But in the end, Your Filthy Little Mouth became Roth's swan song. It was the last platter he recorded for a major label. Worse still, it marked the end of a 16-year partnership with the Warner Bros. Records family that dated back to the first VH album. What started as a valiant attempt to expand his audience resulted in Roth dropping the ball altogether.