Thursday, October 31, 2002

Review: Poison - Hollyweird (2002)

Poison [ Website | MySpace | Facebook ]
Cyanide Records

Unlike some metal bands from the '80s who've altered their style to fit today's commercial pigeonholes, Poison actually dug back to the mighty days of Hair Metal and have compiled an album which sounds as if it was recorded more than 15 years ago. Is that a bad thing? Hell no!! Hollyweird is a massive dose of classic Poison that honors, as it improves upon, the great Hair Metal tradition.

This album, the band's seventh, incorporates elements from Poison's first three records in such a way that it sounds logically to be the follow-up to Flesh & Blood. Bret Michaels' recognizable vocals, and harmonica interludes, remain unchanged, C.C. Deville's licks are delivered just as we've come to expect, the anthemic choruses stick with you, and the overall melody and harmony screams L.A. sleaze. What is different is that we hear C.C. on lead vocals (first off on "Emporer's New Clothes"). The new formula works well, and provides a nice variation on what we're used to.

The third track, "Shooting Star", could be called "Fallen Angel Pt. 2". Lyrically, the song tells the same story but in a slightly more mature way. The melodies and licks, however, give it all the freshness it needs. The cover of Jethro Tull's "Squeeze Box" is, at the very least, a questionable choice to be included on the album. I can understand why the band would adopt the tune, given the sleazy connotations that can be associated with the lyrics, but in this case it just doesn't work and sounds very out of step with the quality of the disc. "Livin' In The Now" stands out to me as the best track on Hollyweird for its catchy chorus and awesome groove. The guitars are a little fuzzier than typical Poison style, but it works well. This is also a track where C.C. handles the lead vox, and he tackles the upbeat lyrical delivery with excellence.

A bit of a unique experiment comes with two tracks titled "Home", but subtitled "Bret's Story" and "C.C.'s Story". Basically the same song musically (both of which call for some serious air drumming), lyrically they give different retrospectives on life. Both are humorous and catchy and fit well with the overall mood of the album.

Besides the cover tune, my biggest complaint has to do with the length of the songs. Six of the tracks clock in at less than 3 minutes, bringing the overall running time down around 42 minutes. Those minor points aside, Hollyweird scores a hit and should be in the collection of any self-respecting metalhead that partied through the glory days of big hair.

Track Listing
2Squeeze Box
3Shooting Star
4Wishful Thinkin'
5Get Ya Some
6Emporer's New Clothes
7Devil Woman
9Livin' In The Now
10Stupid, Stoned & Dumb
11Home (Bret's Story)
12Home (C.C.'s Story)

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