Girl includes: Phil Collen (guitar).
Pointing out that Girl swam against the grubby denim grain is almost an act of cruelty. After all, these are the guys who whipped out the lipstick just as the New Wave of British Heavy Metal scene started to take off. In addition, writers who'd embraced the band's music-or-makeup foppery had now begun dismissing it. There's an unmistakable make-or-break aura that retreats from the glorious trash-brat territory so confidently exploited on Sheer Greed. The simpler view is that Girl's newfound tightness required a different sort of delivery -- which is a grimier, grittier sound befitting the "back to basics" mood here. Like its predecessor, Wasted Youth boasts two drop-dead classics in "Overnight Angels" and "Old Dogs," which gives the Phil Collen-Gerry Laffy guitar team ample opportunity to shine. The romping title cut and "Ice in the Blood" are also worth further investigation, and remain firm fan favorites. Other songs are plagued by inconsistent writing, which isn't a surprise; the comparative benchmark set by Sheer Greed is so imposing, and Girl couldn't provide the perfect anthem that would have ensured them a decent pension. In truth, the band also needed sufficient time to grow up in public, which this album wouldn't deliver them. Still, plenty of rugged talent existed to overcome those problems, even after Collen departed for Def Leppard; the committed fans just never got the chance to find out. But Girl deserve more than a residency in heavy rock's back pages: nonconverts may want to start backward with the My Number anthology or Live at the Marquee albums until they get to Sheer Greed, which remains Girl's finest hour. ~ Ralph Heibutzki