WRAPPED AROUND MY MIDDLE FINGER
I'm one of those guys that just worshipped the work Donnie Vie did with Enuff Z'nuff. Even now, where I've actually hosted shows where Vie was a drug addled embarrassment to the point where I regretted having the name of my radio show tied to his performance, I never stopped appreciating the enormous musical talent that Vie has. I have all those Enuff Z'nuff albums on my IPod and they get regular play in my ears.
As a solo artist, Vie has been spotty though. His songwriting and his choices to prostitute the old Enuff Z'nuff songs as a solo artist really lead me to believe that he wasn't capable of writing quality music without his musical partner Chip Z'nuff. It's safe to say that all changes with WRAPPED AROUND MY MIDDLE FINGER. While a lot darker than the happier, party vibe that dominates the back catalog, WRAPPED AROUND MY MIDDLE FINGER proves that Vie can still write tunes with incredible melody and strong hooks. He can still sing to; fusing his own sound with that John Lennon influence that has been the signature of his sound since his moment in the sun in 1989.
There are so many great songs on WRAPPED AROUND MY MIDDLE FINGER. "Rattle On" is a great song that showcases the new Donnie Vie. Gone are the days of "Joni Woni Rides The Pony" silliness; replaced with more real world messages of life like this song. This song reaches for a place we've all been - that spot where you want to just settle for the fact that life sucks before someone tells you to snap out of it. While Vie seems to be singing this to a girl, one has to wonder if this isn't a metaphor to a lesson that's been thrown at him over the last decade. Whatever the case, this song is a simple singer songwriter dirge that just works on a lot of levels.
As I stated previously, WRAPPED AROUND MY MIDDLE FINGER is a bit darker and emotional than previous Vie efforts. Songs like "No Escape" are as emotionally scarred as Vie has ever decided to go, while other songs like "I Won't Let You Down" feel almost like desperate cries to a woman; begging her to stay in the wake of previously emotional misfortune in a relationship. Still, while this album has it's share of dark moments, there's still some of that patented Enuff Z'nuff songwriting sound that so many fell in love with back in the day. Songs like "Wrapped Around My Middle Finger" are straight forward, fun rockers, while "Lollipop" is punchy and fun.
PITRIFF RATING - 88/100 - Being honest, this is a really pleasant surprise. While Donnie Vie is one of those "sing the phonebook" guys to me, he hasn't been very good without the framework of Enuff Z'nuff. WRAPPED AROUND MY MIDDLE FINGER is the strongest thing Vie has been involved with in awhile - even more so than the last two Enuff Z'nuff albums he did. I'm glad to see there's still some gas in his tank!