Year 2, Day 9: Thin Lizzy – Jailbreak
- Angel From The Coast
- Running Back
- Romeo And The Lonely Girl
- The Boys Are Back In Town
- Fight Or Fall
- Cowboy Song
About the Album
Jailbreak is the sixth studio album by Irish hard rockers, Thin Lizzy. It was the band’s commercial breakthrough in the United States of America. The album was released in 1976, and the rest, we shall say, is history.
Thoughts on the Album
I needed to come up with something Irish for Saint Patrick’s Day. Last year I believe I reviewed a Dropkick Murphys album, Going Out In Style. So this year I decided to go with an actual band from Ireland, but I couldn’t decide on a good one. That was until I took one look through my dad’s record collection and found one. One of the most iconic albums of the mid-1970s, Thin Lizzy‘s Jailbreak.
From the album comes two of the band’s signature songs, Jailbreak and The Boys Are Back In Town. Before talking about those songs, may I just say no band today (I think), even tries to use a twin lead guitar sound. That’s what makes this album unique. But of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention frontman Phil Lynott’s sly vocals and bass work, and constant, steady, and rhythmic drum work of Brian Downey. Let me just state beforehand, the album has great songwriting and guitar work.
First off, the two most iconic songs of this album: Jailbreak and The Boys Are Back In Town. These are the two songs that you will hear on constant rotation on majority of classic rock radio stations. And why not? 38 years later and the songs still hold up. The Boys Are Back In Town features some of most pure rocking guitar riffs that any listener will immediately recognize. It is an “intense” rocker with a chorus that soars, with Lynott booming out “the boys are back in town”. The Boys Are Back In Town is what happens when you combine heavy tone with melodic guitar riffs. Of course, it’s not just The Boys Are Back In Town that features this formula.
Nope. It’s the entire album.
The album opens with this formula of heavy tone with chugging, heavy, yet melodic guitar riffs in the title track Jailbreak. For me, with the title track Jailbreak, its that killer guitar riff in the opening before it just explodes into the second and third verses. The main hook of Jailbreak has to be the chorus. You have lead guitar two belting out booming power chords with lead guitar one blasting out the main riff over top of it. Of course, the vocals in the chorus (and the rest of the song for that matter) are no slouch either. Lynott belting out “tonight there’s gonna be a jailbreak, somewhere in this town!” with a sense of swagger and authority. Jailbreak paces the rest of the album.
The one issue I have with most rock albums today is that, out of 10 or 12 tracks, half will be filler tracks. Tracks that are there just “to be there”. Jailbreak has no filler tracks. Every track has a sense of belonging to the LP. Whether it’s Running Back which is a more mid-paced “light” rocker. It has a nice little riff combined with slight background organ work and a vocal/guitar hook in the chorus. Or the track Angel From The Coast which is a fun rocker, as it carries momentum from the classic title song incredibly well. The track features some awesome galloping drum/lead guitar sections.
It amazes me to listen to this album and think about the lightning in a bottle that Thin Lizzy caught with it. Jailbreak does what most albums don’t: hold up against the passage of time. With tracks like Jailbreak and The Boys Are Back In Town, which are iconic not only for their generation, but even today. For me, it goes without saying that nearly every song on Jailbreak is a pure, hard, rocker with almost little to no flaws. Jailbreak is an album that not only holds up against the test of time, but it pioneers a genre of music… hard rock.
Also, by the way… happy Saint Patrick’s Day!