XXX (ZZ Top album)

XXX is the thirteenth studio album (also including live material) by the American blues rock band ZZ Top, released in September 1999. The album’s title commemorates the band’s 30th anniversary. The live track, “Sinpusher”, is an altered version of their 1994 song “Pincushion” with different lyrics and a slightly heavier guitar riff. The album peaked at number 100 on the Billboard 200. It was their first album without Bill Ham at the helm as producer.

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1999 studio album with live elements by ZZ Top
XXX
Studio album with live elements by

Released September 28, 1999
Recorded April 1998 – June 1999
Genre Blues rock, hard rock
Length 49:31 (30:08 Studio + 19:23 Live)

54:31 (35:08 Studio + 19:23 Live)

Label RCA
Producer Billy Gibbons
ZZ Top chronology
Rhythmeen
(1996)
XXX
(1999)
Mescalero
(2003)

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Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic [1]
Robert Christgau [2]
Rolling Stone [3]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide [4]

Allmusic only gave the album one and a half stars, and in its review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine, he states: “After all, countless blues-based musicians, from Lightnin’ Hopkins and Muddy Waters to B.B. King and The Rolling Stones, have aged gracefully, albeit in varying degrees. So why does ZZ Top sound so stiff and useless on XXX, a record celebrating their 30th anniversary? Part of that could be that the songwriting is decidedly weak, but a band as seasoned as ZZ Top should be able to make third-rate material at least listenable.”[1]

A more positive review was posted by RoughEdge.com, whose reviewer R. Scott Bolton gave it three out of four guitars and stated that the album “represents the best of both worlds of ZZ Top […] [t]he bluesy sounds that highlight their early years [and] the special effects and tricks that made their later recordings so popular”.[5]

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