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Music Review: Poison – Poison’d!

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It's been over 20 years since Poison landed on the glam scene with their make-up, big hair, and big arena rock hooks. They were a fun band, a party band, and they did not intend on letting anyone forget it. The music from their heyday will always be a testament to rock 'n roll excess, with more sex, drugs, and rock n' roll than you can shake a drumstick at.

Well, times have changed, the band has gone through its share of troubles, but somehow, they managed to all come back to the same page, letting bygones be bygones. Gone are the stories of Bret Michaels punching out CC DeVille after a performance, back is a band trying to reclaim some of thier past glory and forge ahead in new directions. What better way to forge a new direction than to release an album covering songs that inspired them when they were up and coming glam rocker punks?

The album is a mixed bag at best, but it does show a more mature band than the "Unskinny Bop" rockers of yesteryear. If anything, the band continues to show that CC DeVille is still a pretty good guitar player, Bret Michaels has a good voice, and the others were in the right place at the right time.

Poison'd! is a curiosity along the road that has been Poison's career. They have brought together an unlikely collection of songs and done their best to be true to the original, while still having something of a Poison sound to it. In addition to nine new recordings, they also include five covers that have been previously released, most famously the Loggins & Messina song they took to new heights in the late 1980's, "Your Momma Don't Dance."

One thing that is evident over the course of this excursion into the past, is that while the guys may have gotten older, they still have that upbeat rock bounce. On the otherside, their softer side doesn't quite work as well as it used to, when the pace slows the focus seems to drift, and they just don't sound as good, for example cue up The Rolling Stones' "Dead Flowers" and Alice Cooper's "I Never Cry." However, give them tracks like Sweet's "Little Willy," Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers' "I Need to Know," and The Romantics' "What I Like About You" and the swagger is right there with them. Then there is the in between-step, songs that are fun but don't quite make it like "Suffragette City" with Michaels doing his best to sound like Bowie, or his Ric Ocasek impression on The Cars' "Just What I Needed."

Among the older tracks, Kiss' "Rock 'N Roll All Nght" sticks out like a sore thumb. Sure, the party vibe is there, but they just cannot make it work. Just listen as the guitars drag the lackluster drums along behind them. "Squeezebox," which originally appeared on 2002's Hollyweird is actually pretty decent. Closing out the album is Grand Funk Railroad's "We are an American Band," which seems oddly fitting, as Poison is distinctly American sounding.

On a side note, Walmart is offering an exclusive version of this which includes a cover of Justin Timberlake's "Sexyback." Yes, you read that right.

Bottomline. This is a fun collection, hit or miss to be sure, but still fun. I always liked Poison's music, and while this will never rival their originals from their early career, it should be a part of any Poison fan's collection. Non-fans will need to think a bit harder about it. It will pay tribute to the changing attitudes of the band, as they have aged and reveal some different rocker sensibilities through their choice, and performance, of covers.

Mildly Recommended.

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About Draven99

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    I don’t know,Chris… Sounds like a lame attempt at a comeback like Def Leppard’s cover album. Too many times,on this CD, Brett Michaels sounds like Neil Diamond and that’s not a good thing.
    “Little Willie” was pretty good,but it stops there.They destroyed The Cars tune & their rendition of The Romantics’“What I Like..” sounds like a poor Karaoke act.

    They still have the original members & I’m pretty sure the formula is still laying around somewhere. They could’ve released some new work that sounded remiscient of their old stuff but maybe a little heavier.

    Just a true disappointment…

  • Randie aka

    i totally disagree. I think that they kicked ass on this one.I like every single song on this C.D you have to remember that they are not the original people doing the original recording so it cannot sound the same.

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    “you have to remember that they are not the original people doing the original recording so it cannot sound the same.”

    Obviously, you’ve never listened to a band doing a good job on a cover song. So, let me direct you to some:

    “Radar Love” – White Lion
    “Since You’ve Been Gone” – Impelliteri
    “War Pigs” – Faith No More
    “Tom Sawyer” – The Bad Plus
    “Dream On” – Ronnie James Dio & Yngwie J. Malmsteen

    I’m sorry, but for a band that has the ability, they really didn’t make their mark. C.C Deville on guitar and not one shred?! Come on, this cd was sad!!

  • http://draven99.blogspot.com Chris Beaumont

    We may not agree on the final outcome of the album, but you beat me to the response to randie!

    Guppy, I have another cover album review coming: Iced Earth’s Tribute to the Gods.

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    The old singer from Iced Earth sounded alot like Paul Stanley & their KISS cover sounds f*cking awesome!!

    More into detail, I’m not looking for a cover song to be exactly like the original but I’m also not looking for it to sound like some garage band which Poison did a good job of sounding like.

    Tribute to the Gods is a killer example of paying,well,tribute to your influences & idols. Poison should’ve done their homework…

  • http://draven99.blogspot.com Chris Beaumont

    I thought the Tribute to the Gods was a good, if middling job. I loved God of Thunder, but the other Kiss, Creatures of the Night, I didn’t care for as much.

    I will get that in to be posted sometime tomorrow. Keep an eye out for it. I still have a bunch of other metal reviews coming: Lake of tears, Persuader, Waltari, and at least 1 or 2 others.

  • taffy

    Greenville South Carolina, Wednesday, June 13 2007 Show was a fantastic show. Ratt was good, but Poison brought the house down! The new CD has been great and the memories are fun. C’mon folks get Poison’d