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Poison

Wow, some people really did HATE Poison. Maybe the make-up and clothes scared them, maybe they thought you couldn't dress like that and still write good songs. Maybe some people are just idiots who are too quick to judge based on looks. I loved Poison's attitude, but most of all I loved their songs. They were usually loads of fun, THE Party Rock Band. They soundtracked my summers, parties and some of the best times of my life. So don't be too quick to judge

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My absolute favourite Poison songs:

 

Cry Tough

Look What The Cat Dragged In

Talk Dirty To Me

Want Some, Need Some

 

Nothin But A Good Time

 

Valley Of Lost Souls

Don't Give Up An Inch

Something To Believe In

Life Loves A Tragedy

 

So Tell me Why

No More Lookin' Back (Poison Jazz)

 

Power To the People

 

Home (Bret's story)

Home (CC's story)

 

Party Rock Band (Bret Michaels solo release, featuring CC Deville)

Rarities:

 

Few and far between, let's forget the early interview (1st album). The remaster adds the inessential cover 'Don't Mess Around With Jim'  and some single mixes.

 

2nd album has:

'Livin For The Minute' (B side of 'Nothin But A Good Time') which was fun, fast and better than many songs that made it onto the album. 'Gotta Face The Hangman' (B side of 'Every Rose..') is Ok, but not essential.

 

The remaster of Flesh & Blood adds an acoustic version of 'Something To Believe In' with very different lyrics and an instrumental of 'God Save The Queen' - WHY WHY WHY?!

 

The Stand CD single has the unreleased track 'When The Whip Comes Down' which would fit onto that album perfectly.

While 'Until You Suffer Some' CD sinle has an acoustic version of 'Stand' and a remix of the lead track.

 

The 'Best Of Poison - 20 years of rock' adds 'Rock & Roll All Nite'  a Kiss cover from the Less Than Zero soundtrack (1987). And another cover: 'We're An American Band'

My Reviews:

Look What The Cat Dragged In (1986)

One of the best party albums, by THE best party band. While Motley Crue took a heavier route, Poison took a poppier approach with the same punk attitude and similar 3 chord simplicity. ‘Cry Tough’, ‘Talk  Dirty To Me’, and ‘Look…’ are classics! Four more songs are real contenders, the rest are poor fillers. But it’s the quality and number of classics that make this essential. Poison influenced so many bands, without them  there’d be no Pretty Boy Floyd, Warrant etc.. (8/10)

 

Open Up And Say Ahh! (1988)

More mature songs, a less raw  (but still poor) production – some of the old fun is gone. “Nothin’ But A Good Time’ is a great party anthem, ‘Fallen Angel’ shows a greater depth in songwriting, while ‘Every Rose..’ is one of THE all time Metal ballads. Many of the songs seem rushed and not fully formed, but it’s still a strong follow up. Their ability to write a good chorus keeps them ahead of the pack they helped create. (7/10)

 

Flesh & Blood (1990)

Their best album and one of my all-time-favourites. Sure much of the early throwaway style is gone, but here is a more consistent album. And in ‘Valley Of Lost Souls’ and ‘Ride The Wind’ they have huge anthems with (at last) a decent production and a big sound (thanks to Bruce Fairbairn – Bon Jovi etc). . That’s not to say that the fun is gone – ‘Sacrifice' and ‘Unskinny Bop’ are still rude and crude sex songs. But some songs are so much more mature and all the better for it: ‘Something To Believe In’ is their BEST ballad, while ‘Life Loves A Tragedy’ is sheer brilliance. In between are all the usual party numbers and fun (I especially like the lyrics to 'Don't Give Up An Inch'), just better written, arranged, recorded. More mature, but no less fun. (9/10)

 

Swallow This Live (1991)

Why release a double live album now? Sure the atmosphere of the gig is there (if you like huge stadium gigs) – the crowd are loud as are the fireworks, but there is no need for this release.To add insult to injury we have a Drum Solo for over SIX AND A HALF MINUTES!and a Guitar Solo for NINE AND A HALF MINUTES!! Why?! But on CD2 there are FOUR new songs, ‘So Tell Me Why’ is a real gem, catchy and rockin’, ‘Souls On Fire’ is a poor groover indicating future releases. ‘Only Time Will Tell’ is another excellent ballad, while ‘No More Lookin’ Back’ is a fun upbeat track. (5/10) Live, (8/10) bonus tracks.

 

Native Tongue (1993)

C.C left and Grunge dominated the scene and so Poison toughened up their sound and image – Oh Dear! The result is usually mediocre with a newfound bluesy groove and heavy sound. ‘Stand’ is an OK gospel (Black Crowes?) influenced single, while ‘Until You Suffer Some (Fire And  Ice) and ‘Theatre Of The Soul’ are rare islands of brilliance – great ballads. ‘7 Days Over You’ and ‘Strike Up The Band’ are good  poppy songs with the old Poison fun, but they are too few and far between. (5/10)

 

Crack a smile (2000)/(1996)

The much bootlegged 1996 shelved album finally got released with a few bonus tracks tagged on for good measure. It's MUCH more fun than the last album. But CC is still missing, and it's still got that bluesy sound that "serious" bands think makes them sound "real" and "meaningful".....hmmm. 'Doin' As I Seen On My TV' wakes things up and is pretty fun (and true in so many ways!). Overall it lacks a  real killer track though. Strangely it also features a B side from their 2nd album and 4 tracks from their MTV unplugged session - all featuring CC. (6/10)

 

Power to the people (2000)

Just what we need - another Poison live album!!

But wait, CC is Back! And there are 5 new studio tracks (so let's forget the unnecessary, poorly recorded, live songs). Title track 'Power To the People' doesn't sound at all like Poison, it is heavy & alternative - but still fun and a GREAT track. The gang are back and the other 4 songs sound more like "old" Poison, but Poison for the 21st Century. 'The Last Song' is a good ballad, 'Strange' sounds like a Bret solo album song. 'I Hate Every Bone..' is a CC lead vocal song, it rocks in a punky vein, is fun and sounds similar to CC's solo album.

 

Hollywierd (2002)

Maybe it's the change in the musical landscape from the Blues influenced Grunge of the 90's to the Punk influenced 00's - or maybe it's CC's return (from fronting the punkier Samantha 7) that moves Poison back into a tighter, (less Blues influenced) band. And CC sings on THREE tracks too - obviously part of the agreement. Sort of - Crack A Smile - with CC punking it up occasionally. The highlight is Bret and CC's versions of 'Home'.

 

 

 

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Solo stuff:

When Poison disappeared, I turned to Bret to give me my fill - he tried hard, but unfortunately, the solo Bret is a different beast to the lead singer of Poison. Better than the solo Jon Bon Jovi, and ok compared to latter Poison releases, but hardly essential. However, if you love his acoustic/ballad/country side - you will find much to enjoy here. Especially if Native Tongue and Crack A Smile haven't put you off. Bret's solo stuff is soulful, bluesy, silly, fun, heartfelt & sorrowful...much like his Poison years.

 

The 'Songs Of Life' album is probably closest to the Poison sound and will not disappoint most fans of the later Poison albums. This is based on the premise that this album can rock hard, has some good ballads and is fun! It doesn't sound the same as Poison, but it is similar. I'd recommend this album.

 

Bret's solo years have been varaiable in their quality control and style. Very often he has moved towards the country sound. He was obviously the one who wanted that Country/Bluesy sound, while CC wanted a more straight forward punkier sound - see CC's 'Samantha 7' solo release.

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