Amber Headlights – Rhino Recommends
by Jessica Hundley
Recorded in 2001, Amber Headlights is a loose collection of tracks recorded by Greg Dulli in the hiatus between the breakup of The Afghan Whigs and the inception of his critics’ darling, The Twilight Singers. The result is a scattered, swaggering album, Dulli proving to himself that he still had the potency and the rock ‘n’ roll balls to turn up his amp and growl out his libido. The album starts off strong with “So Tight,” a gritty guitar anthem that prowls like a panther and oozes raw sex. The track sets the tone of bittersweet dirtiness—brief encounters in the backs of cars, drunken groping, and groggy mornings. At times, Amber Headlights can make you feel ashamed of yourself for liking it, for getting so hot and bothered over such simple sexual cliches and strutting, thrusting riffs. But there’s something innocent in Dulli’s soul man antics—a little boy having himself some fun in the bathroom. For fans expecting Dulli’s deeper side, the inquisitive, intelligent rock ‘n’ roll outsider, Amber Headlights is not so much a letdown as an aside. Dulli never lets his ego outweigh his talent, and there are tracks here that echo the massive pop-rock success of the Foo Fighters and their ilk. That this man isn’t selling out stadiums is one of the great mysteries of life. Yet it’s exactly that Dulli had his fun with Amber, yet has continued to remain the uncompromising underdog, that makes him one of the most enigmatic, compelling musicians of our time.