In defense of….ZZ Top’s Eliminator

My dad called me this weekend and told me there is a commercial I needed to see. It turned out to be this

Wal-mart cashing in on that 80s nostalgia wave.

I saw it. Said it felt like pandering to people my age. Even though it had both KITT and ECTO-1. I was meh on it. But I did ask an important question. Where the hell is Eliminator? He said, “What?” And I said, “I thought you were in your early 20s in the 80s” 

 So today, we are going to discuss why you should always remember ZZ Top’s Eliminator. 

thumb zz top eliminator2

First, lets do a quick review of the album itself. Much like many bands of the late60s/early 70s. ZZ Top got corrupted by the use of synthesizers that was en vogue at the time. As a result, I think the record is missing some of the grit of their first few albums. To be fair, ZZ Top only really had one major masterpiece, but they did make a consistent brand of dirty blues rock. I would argue alot of bands like the Black Keys and their ilk owe something to ZZ Top. But back to this album. 

This album does have a major redeeming facet. The singles are just slamming. Just WAY better than the deep cuts. They got some kind of strong mix between the synth and guitar sounds, to create….well 80s ZZ Top. The album itself is a 2 or 2.5/4. As a band, I would say get a ZZ Top best of, and the one major masterpiece and your good to go. 

BUT, the album is secondary to why you should never forget Eliminator. The music videos man. Those music videos had the heaviest of heavy rotation on MTV. Even late into the mid-90s. I remember turning on MTV and you would still get shit like this:

There is alot to talk about here. First, the through thread for these videos is ZZ Top as the gods of….cool? not that. Trash? maybe Texas? Probably. Second, I have always been a sucker for a quality riff. You got a real strong guitar riff, I am there. And thats why I am there. Third, the whole thing is really shot like a gas station pinup hotrod calendar. I mean all three videos are really that. And I suppose thats what ZZ Top was the patron saint of, drunk working class trash. So I identify with that. 

Lastly, that fucking car is AMAZING. How is that not a signature 80s car. 

I think Legs is as close as they came to blending guitars and synths. I really like that charging synth lead through the song. Also, in the 80s, was it just clearer who is an asshole? I feel like we now have a difficult time identifying, “oh yeah, that person like trying to be a creep to the shoe clerk, yeah that person is a dickhead.” I think maybe ZZ Top needs to just pimp through the country just telling people to stop being dick heads. 

I also think this video could have easily done the like Whitesnake thing and just moved into straight objectification. They didnt really do that here. All the women seem to fix their own problems. Unrelated, but when did Bikers become heroes? Every biker I have met was a jerk. Maybe ZZ Top Bikers are different. 

Oh yeah, and spinning fucking guitars. This became like such a thing that they had to do it in their appearence in back to the future

K, last one from the record

I think this is my favorite song on the record, but my least favorite video. Compared to the narrative in the other two, its kind of boring. But damn that guitar is awesome. 

So yeah, give those videos some love. Don’t let Eliminator fall into the annals of bad 80s stuff. Cause Eliminator is fucking awesome. And magical. Drink a tall cheap beer for the bearded gods. 

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