I know basically nothing about Suzi Quatro, but the little I knew about her piqued my interest. I don’t know that there was a prominent female bassist solo artist when she debuted. Carol Kaye is the only prominent female bassist I can think of from the 1960s and she was strictly a session player. So this album should be a big deal as she appears to have been a trailblazer, going solo like this.
The first problem I have with the record is the songs. The two singles from this record were written by professional songwriters and, no matter what the record tries to make them sound like it’s clear how bubble gummy they are; in essence they’re bubble gum posing as glam rock. Her originals are not great and it’s clear to me why professional songwriters were brought in to write some singles. And the covers are entirely unnecessary; “I Wanna Be Your Man” seems to have been chosen because she’s a woman (get it?!?), “All Shook Up,” apart from borrowing the beginning of “Jailhouse Rock” is not actually the best since Elvis’ version and there are just too many versions of “Shakin’ All Over.”
I have yet to fall in love with British glam rock. I get its importance in paving the way for punk, but it’s always struck me as overly nostalgic and too willfully silly/disposable. This record is murkier than most glam I’ve heard – this is a dirtier sounding record than anything I’ve heard by Mott the Hoople, for example – but the despite the grime this record still just sounds like the early ’70s version of ’50s rock and roll. There’s attitude, but there’s not enough attitude and, more importantly, there’s no sense of purpose beyond having a good time. (I.e. this music feels like it’s made for younger teens, not teens and twenty-somethings ready to overthrow society.)
The sound quality isn’t great, but that’s actually part of the appeal, given that, if it sounded more professional, I would probably like it even less.
I must say, I really wanted to like this, but I can’t imagine picking up another record of hers after this one. Very meh.
PS: It’s Suburban, not suburbian. Urbian is not a word.
Note: RYM lists the record as a 1974 release but Wikipedia says October 1973. I usually defer to RYM in these cases but, in this case, because Wikipedia lists an actual month, I am going by that.