Greatest Hits, Dokken, Cleopatra, 2010.
It’s been a trend -an often controversial one at that- for older bands to re-record some of their old material. Not wanting to be left out, rockers Dokken also gave the idea a go.
Just to clear up some of the confusion, the 2010 album Greatest Hits is a misleading title since this is really an album of re-recorded classic Dokken songs (Greatest Hits Re-Recorded would’ve been a more accurate title for this release). The catch is unless you’ve done research you wouldn’t know these weren’t the original songs until you listened to the album. There is no mention of the songs being re-recorded anywhere on the disc. There is however, a Dokken Greatest Hits album under the name The Very Best of Dokken worthy of it’s name.
Anyhow, Greatest Hits saw Dokken re-record classics from their back catalogue with the then-current lineup of Don Dokken, “Wild” Mick Brown, John Levin, Barry Sparks and Sean McNabb. The idea had been done by other bands before like Foreigner, KISS and many others so it’s certainly nothing. Dokken borrows the idea of re-recording some of their back catalog and gives fans an idea of what the band today sounds when performing these songs. The lineup has stayed essentially the same over the last couple of years, with Dokken, Brown and Levin as mainstays with a revolving door of musicians.
The thing that bothers many fans (and I’m also speaking for myself here) is Don’s voice which is noticeably not what it was. I still consider him to be one of the best Glam/Hair Metal singers, during Dokken’s heyday in the mid 1980’s his voice was amazing; it was powerful, sweet and just as high as it needed to be. There were better singers but I always thought of Don as a great singer, when I listen to those old or “classic” Dokken album today Don’s voice still sounds amazing.
Today however, this has changed unfortunately. It’s when he attempts to hit the high notes that his voice fails him most, -“Alone Again” is a prime example of this- the vocals ruin it for me. To be fair to Don it had been more than 25 years since some of these songs were released and being in his late 50’s it’s quite understandable that he can’t sing the way he did when he was younger. I can’t blame Don for trying and it really does sound like he’s trying hard and as best as he can. Some fans are highly critical and its understandable as they want the best out of their favorite bands.
To John Levin`s credit the guitars and solos are pretty good but even if he’s Lynch inspired he is not George Lynch. There is only one guitar player who can play like George Lynch does and that’s George Lynch, that aside he’s a very good guitar player and plays George’s parts really well. A reunion, or at least having George back in the band would’ve made this a much better release, Dokken fans wants this reunion to happen but if it happens is a whole other thing. Classic lineup member Mick Brown is still a solid drummer and his performance on the album is a good one.
Some of these re-recorded versions sound better than others and sound decent while some feature some painful vocal parts that are hard to listen to if you’re a Dokken fan. Whatever it was, be it the chemistry between the original band members or Don’s vocals abilities and George’s guitar skills, it’s not here on this album.
Not to take anything away from the musicians on this album but Greatest Hits sounds flat and uninspired although it has hints of brilliance and what made the band great initially. The band here sounds more like a tribute to Dokken than the real thing.
Greatest Hits feature two new songs “Almost Over” and “Magic Man” which are good songs; it’s always nice to have new material for the older and hardcore fans on a hits album. I think I would’ve preferred more re-recorded hits versions to these two new songs but that’s just my opinion.
If anything, Greatest hits makes the original songs seem that much better. Yet this re-recorded hits album is not all waste, there are some enjoyable moments like “Just Got Lucky” who has a different feel and sounds re-energized.
Greatest Hits is definitely not a high point of Dokken’s career but for curious fans like I was, GH is not a bad buy just like it is not an essential purchase. It’s interesting to hear what those classic Dokken songs sound like today with the current lineup of the band. Newcomers may want to stick with the original recordings and “The Very Best of Dokken” 1999 compilation. 3 stars out of 5.