"Great" doesn't even begin to describe it. Same goes for "phenomenal," "amazing," and "brilliant." Indeed, Chuck Berry Is On Top defies just about any one-word encapsulation that you can think of. It's simply above all that. It's one of those rare works of art that simply exists in a league all its own. Its merits aren't really something that you discuss- you just listen to the music, and you just understand. You know what you're hearing. The very essence is coming out of your speakers. You're listening to the beating heart of rock `n' roll.
If the above paragraph sounded at all overdramatic, fawning, or pretentious, that's probably because it is. But I think you see my point. This really is one of the purest examples of rock `n' roll ever made, from its gorgeous cover (have you ever seen such a delicious hunk of teenaged utopian Americana?) to its unassailable songs. This is swinging, greasy, rollicking, dance-all-night juke joint bliss, a sizzling slab of musical mayhem that'll be rocking across the ages until the end of time. It's the blueprint for everything from the Rolling Stones to Black Sabbath to the Clash to the White Stripes, and just about anybody else that picked up a guitar after 1957.
I mean, look at that track listing! This thing has got deathless rock `n' roll anthems like "Johnny B. Goode" and "Roll Over Beethoven," in addition to rollicking slices of teenaged life on the league of "Almost Grown," "Maybelline" and "Around And Around" and innuendos as slyly delicious as "Little Queenie" and "Sweet Little Rock & Roller." And then there's the bizarrely catchy "Anthony Boy," the muted rumble of "Jo Jo Gun," and two brilliantly atmospheric throwaways entitled "Hey Pedro" and "Blues For Hawaiians." This thing has got it all! If you like rock music- or any form of music- or, for that matter, if you like sounds being made on purpose, get this.