Thin Lizzy – Renegade

   1981 Warner Bros

Thin Lizzy will forever be most remembered for “The Boys Are Back In Town,” a song revered by every rockhead from stuffed shirts to rednecks.  As good as that song is, and as good of an album as ‘Jailbreak’ was, ‘Renegade’ and “Thunder and Lightning’ are the cream of the Thin Lizzy crop and by all means brought their career to an end on a creative high note.

I was first introduced to this album in high school by my friend Mac Haik, who was the first to tell me that it was the best Thin Lizzy album ever.  When I first listened to it, I didn’t agree, as all I knew of Thin Lizzy was “The Boys are Back in Town” and “Jailbreak.”  I was expecting more of the same and while there’s plenty on this disc that rocks, it’s the emotional texture and dynamics that make it stand out and ultimately brought me to agree that it’s an amazing album.

The only real complaint I have is that Chris Tsangarides’ production smooths out the edges a bit too much.  However, on some songs like the chilling “Renegade” that smoothness is just what the doctor ordered.  Opener “Angel of Death” rocks intense while “No One Told Him,” “Fats” and “Mexican Blood” form a trifecta that just bursts with emotional honesty and personality.

While some of his lyrics are dodgy (the rhymes on “No One Told Him” are almost painful) band leader Phil Lynott (RIP) is still an amazing storyteller and “Hollywood (Down on Your Luck)” stands to this day as my favorite Thin Lizzy track ever.

Much in the same way that UFO’s 2 best albums came after the departure of Michael Schenker (some will argue that I’m out of my mind saying that), Thin Lizzy’s 2 best albums came after their universally recognized “classic” era of the mid-to-late 70’s…’Thunder and Lightning’ and this one, which is perhaps their masterpiece.

Rating:  4.5 out of 5



5 Responses to “Thin Lizzy – Renegade”

  1. Regarding your final paragraph stating that Lizzy’s best 2 albums are their last two – ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND??? Jailbreak, Black Rose, Live & Dangerous & Bad Reputation would be far and away their best 4 records, followed by Johnny The Fox and then Fighting. That’s usually how most people see which are Lizzy’s best records. Gorham was a great guitarist but he was best with Robertson or Moore – who were there during the golden period.

    Renegade is usually voted THE worst Lizzy record ever. Phil was a wreck during this record and the lack of effort shows. There’s some fantastic parts, but often let down by bad lyrics (easily Phil’s worst album for lyrics – Angel of Death is stupid).

    I’ll agree with you about production – it sounds thin and too clean – Lizzy were a rock band and this isn’t “in your face” enough. Black Rose & Bad Reputation have by far and away the best production (done by Tony Visconti who produced many classic David Bowie records and produced T-Rex amongst others).

    I think you need to sit down and go through your whole Lizzy collection again and realise what makes a good all round song. But if Renegade brings enjoyment to you personally well at least it’s making someone happy. I think for many Lizzy fans it’s just a disappointment.

    • moosejuice Says:

      Man, do I appreciate your honesty. I know this grading flies in the face of what most Lizzy fans think, and Phil’s heroin addiction was in full effect by this time, but I just love the riffs and variety here. I do agree to a certain extent with the lyrics, but I have to say the worst lyric I’ve heard on a Lizzy album is “Sweetheart” off of Chinatown. I love the song, but I have to block out the words…just really bad rhymes.
      Thanks for the comment!

  2. Renegade rules. Period. Other than Fats, this album is perfect.

  3. I agree with the author’s view of this record. This album introduced me to the genius of Phil Lynott, and while it may not be considered one of their best, it contains two of my favorite Lizzy songs, “Mexican Blood” and “Hollywood.” And how can you not love “No One Told Him?”

    Personally, I get tired of this album being slammed as a shitty Lizzy disc. Other than “The Boys are Back in Town” this album introduced me to Thin Lizzy and I don’ t think there is a bad song on it, with the possible exception “Fats” (Thin Lizzy – Mach II?”)

    Renegade rocks.

    • moosejuice Says:

      Peter, I still remember when you and Mac first played this album for me on my dad’s stereo one summer back in high school. “Hollywood” is probably my fave Lizzy song ever, and I still can hear Mac imitating Phil Lynott on Mexican Blood (Ah seen ‘er, the nyeeet that she dyeeeeeeed). A great album and, like my favorite albums in the Abyss, one that takes me back to a specific moment in time.
      And yes I agree: “Fats” = “Jazz Odyssey”

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