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After the band's breakthrough album Stay Hungry from 1984, American glam metal band Twisted Sister were very much unable to continue their success in America. The 1985 follow up album Come Out and Play had proved to be commercially unsuccessful, despite having plenty to offer, with the band themselves believing it was their best work at the time. Since the album, the band slowly declined and a break-up looked unavoidable. After Come Out and Play, lead vocalist and main songwriter Dee Snider began to work on a solo album project with American producer Beau Hill. This was to allow the band a break from each other, with the idea of regrouping after the solo album's release. Instead though, the band's record company Atlantic Records pressured Snider and eventually told him that the label would not release the Snider's solo album unless it was under the Twisted Sister name. This caused the album to be released under the band's name, causing them to split immediately after promotion for the release was complete. The album was released in late 1987, the band's fifth studio album, titled Love is For Suckers.
The album's opener is titled Wake Up (The Sleeping Giant), a hard-hitting and rebellious themed song that recalls the band's usual musical style. Opening with a strong guitar riff, some dominant percussion soon joins, followed by bass guitar. The verses feature some strong and fitting vocal from Snider over the song's rhythm section, with the occasional use of extra percussion and a hint of guitar. A pre-chorus builds the song up further, adding some strong guitar backing and hard-hitting percussion. For the chorus, Snider gives a great vocal, backed by anthemic chanting and similar instrumentation to the pre-chorus. Lyrically, the song speaks of rebellion and fighting back against those who try to control you, basing it on what's right and wrong. Overall, a strong and hard-hitting opener with some great vocal, excellent guitar and memorable lyrics. "Let's push to the limit, so let's push till we're home, we've been good too long, they wouldn't leave us alone. It's our rights they're abusing, it's our right to fight back, so rally the troops and let's start the attack..."
Hot Love takes the album in a new direction, being very much a pop-metal track with a polished production sound, showing what Snider was trying to do with a solo album. The song opens with a guitar build-up, soon starting a melodic riff, backed by a fitting rhythm section. For the verses, the instrumentation settles down, allowing the guitar to perform a very melodic part, whilst Snider gives an excellent vocal. A strong pre-chorus builds the song up with some backing guitar licks whilst the chorus itself is presented as an infectious and anthemic section, using some fitting backing vocal over melodic guitar and dominant percussion. Following the second chorus, a fitting and memorable guitar solo is performed whilst the rhythm guitar and rhythm section drives the song forward. Lyrically, the song is simple but effective, speaking about the feeling of love for a certain woman and the effects of her on the man who wants her. Interestingly, as the only single from the album, a strong video was created, featuring Snider's wife Suzette. Overall, an excellent track showing a more melodic sound, with some memorable lyrics, infectious chorus and great vocal. "Oh no, that girl, she's looking so fine, I know she knows what she's doing to my mind. Ooh, does she know that I'm wanting her so? Well there's one thing I know, I can never let her go..."
The title track Love is For Suckers, is a hard-hitting track in the band's usual musical style, full of energy and power, written by Snider and Marky Carter, originally performed in 1985 by American female hair metal band Poison Dollys from their self-titled album which Snider produced, where this version differs greatly, particularly lyrically. The song opens with some powerful percussion, full driving lead guitar and solid bass guitar. The song's verses feature some excellent vocal from Snider, backed by driving rhythm guitar and the rhythm section. For the pre-chorus, Snider's vocal builds the song up with some fitting guitar licks. A strong chorus highlights some further strong vocal, casting the song's message clearly whilst the last line is performed by another member, followed by the song's main guitar melody with some dominant lead vocal. Lyrically, the song speaks of a man who doesn't believe in love and happens to have a girl interested in him, where the lyrics speak of his rebellious feelings against love and this girl. Overall, another strong track with great vocal and strong instrumentation, the backing vocalist is also an unusual touch although the vocal would probably sound better if Snider had performed it himself, either way it doesn't spoil the song at all. "Listen, I'm not some poor fool, won't jump through your hoop, ain't gonna crawl, girl, to that I won't stoop. So if you want me, you'll have to get me, and if you're willing I'll be ready..."
I'm So Hot For You is a strong track that lies between a heavy sound and a pop sound, creating a nice mix between the two, using some heavy sounding percussion like the rest of the album. Opening with a strong use of percussion, a simple but fully memorable guitar riff soon joins. The verses use this mix of guitar and percussion, allowing Snider to give a dominant vocal performance. A strong pre-chorus highlights a nice mix between lead vocal and some female backing vocalists, again a new touch to a Twisted Sister album. The song's chorus uses the song's main guitar riff with both lead and backing vocal performing their own lines, creating a memorable sound. Lyrically, the song is again simple but effective, speaking of a man falling for a woman, where he needs her love and constantly longs for it. Overall, a simple but strong track with a nice mix of lead and backing vocal, solid guitar and a memorable sound throughout. "Hey girl, across the room, say I'm in love, babe, it's much too soon, but you know I'd give you everything that I have. Girl, do you know what you're doing to me? I'm getting burned in the first degree, I want your love, never needed something so bad..."
Tonight features a more traditional and energetic Twisted Sister sound but not without adding a nice pop metal theme. The song opens with some strong guitar and crashing percussion, followed by a more dominant drumbeat after. Following on, the guitar changes to another melody, both infectious and melodic. With a backing group chant, the first verse begins, with Snider giving an excellently fitting vocal performance over solid guitar and the furious rhythm section. A strong pre-chorus changes the song's mood slightly, returning to the melodic guitar riff as Snider gives a further strong vocal. The chorus itself returns to the usual mix of heavy percussion and lead guitar, adding backing vocal and group vocal chants. An excellent guitar solo follows the second chorus, perfectly fitting whilst a pre-chorus and chorus follows. Lyrically, the song is simple but effective, speaking perhaps of the band performing live, where the song's overall message is about losing control and giving it your all. Overall, an excellent track with strong vocal, memorable instrumentation and some anthemic felt lyrics, nicely combining pop metal with the usual Twisted Sister sound. "Are you ready for a hard time, are you ready for the ball to top them all? Are you ready for the long ride, are you ready for the rise before the fall? Are you ready for the big game, are you ready for the coup de tat, et al?"
Me and the Boys is a straight-forward rock track, again being of the usual Twisted Sister sound, but with the obvious polished production. The song opens with a strong guitar riff and very light backing percussion, with the first verse soon beginning. In the verses, Snider gives a dominant vocal performance over this instrumentation, with a pre-chorus building the song up further with some strong guitar licks, dominant percussion and a hint of a backing vocal chant. A strong chorus follows, where Snider and backing vocalists create an anthemic sound over the solid guitar and rhythm section. The dominant percussion continues into the next verse, along with the guitar, keeping the song's anthemic sound going. Lyrically, the song speaks on behalf of a certain group or gang, recalling the usual rock 'n' roll lifestyle, rebellion and making a lot of noise. Overall, a simple but effective track with some memorable vocal, strong instrumentation and some fitting lyrics. "Me and the boys we never lost control, it's one for all, yeah, we take care of our own. Me and the boys just wanna rock, there's some things you'll never stop, we got it and we're never letting go..."
One Bad Habit is a fun, energetic and anthemic track which features the usual hard hitting sound but with a slight pop metal finish. The song opens with some anthemic guitar and a hint of percussion, with the guitar soon playing a new, very melodic riff whilst the percussion picks up. For the verses, Snider gives an excellent vocal over guitar licks and the rhythm section. The melodic guitar riff returns for the pre-chorus, where Snider continues to give a strong vocal. A strong and anthemic chorus sees Snider giving a dominant vocal, joined by backing vocal from the band, over strong guitar and the rhythm section. Lyrically, the song speaks of someone who could never give up their habit of loving all things rock 'n' roll, written in an infectious and fun way. Overall, another excellent and fun track with some brilliant vocal, strong lyrics and a great anthemic sound. "All I'm saying's true but there's one thing that I do and I just can't explain it, there's no way to restrain it. If I quit the rest I still couldn't pass the test cause I could not give up this one last thing..."
I Want This Night (To Last Forever) is a strong and hard hitting song, stripped down to the basics whilst still benefitting from the polished production. The song opens with some interesting fade in vocal effects from Snider before strong lead guitar joins along with more hard hitting percussion and solid bass guitar. The song's verses feature some strong vocal from Snider, backed by simple but effective guitar and the dominant rhythm section. A second part of the verse features some great guitar licks whilst a memorable pre-chorus builds the song up with some fluent bass guitar, chugging guitar and more great vocal. The chorus itself is expectedly anthemic and infectious, creating one big sing-a-long as Snider and the backing vocal remains dominant. Lyrically, the song is about someone who is going to make a night to remember, taking any chances and having a good time, wishing the night would never end. Overall, a strong and memorable track with some great vocal, nice anthemic sound and some simple but effective instrumentation. It's certainly not the strongest track on the album but still infectious and worthwhile. "Out on the streets the night fills my brain, so many girls to meet, they'll never be the same, ha. My radio's playing my favourite tune, oh yeah, this is the life, nothing I'd rather do, no, no..."
You Are All That I Need is one of the album's most unexpected tracks, a full pop metal ballad with meaningful lyrics and some gentler vocal. The song opens with some melodic lead guitar and a solid rhythm section, with the percussion still being strong but not too dominant. For the verses, Snider gives a more tender vocal over a recurring melodic rhythm guitar riff and the rhythm section. A strong pre-chorus allows the vocal to build up over some nice guitar licks and melodic synthesizer backing. For the chorus, Snider and the backing vocalists gives a great vocal performance, creating a big sing-a-long sound over the guitar and rhythm section backing. Lyrically, the song speaks directly to someone's true love, stating that his love for her is forever. Overall, an unusual Twisted Sister track but still excellent with some great vocal, meaningful sound and some infectious instrumentation. "And if I lived a thousand times, I'd be guilty of the crime of eternal love and dedication. And if I only get one chance to know the meaning of romance, well then I'm happy with my education..."
The album's closer is Yeah Right, a basic stomping and anthemic track which recalls the usual Twisted Sister sound. The song opens with some strong use of percussion, followed by dominant and driving bass, and again followed by a hint of crunching guitar. The song's verses feature some solid vocal from Snider, some group vocal chants, the strong rhythm section and guitar. A strong pre-chorus follows, building the song up with crashing percussion and solid guitar. For the chorus, the vocal chants continue whilst Snider's vocal is carried by a more dominant use of flowing guitar. Lyrically, the song is very simple, speaking of a group who have got someone where they want them, and they don't plan to let them go, perhaps speaking of the band's live performances, promoting audience participation. Overall, a fair track which highlights a great anthemic sound. Although it is probably the weakest track on the album, it is still perfectly listenable and harmless. "We got you where we want you and we're never letting go, we've trapped you in our web now, aren't you old enough to know? So stomp your hands and clap your feet, do a dance, hook into the beat..."
For the two CD re-issues, one from Armoury Records and the other from Spitfire Records, there are a total of four bonus tracks of songs that didn't make the final album. The first track is Feel Appeal, a hard hitting track with the usual Twisted Sister sound but with the polished production addition. The song opens with some a strong guitar riff, soon joined by driving percussion and bass guitar. For the verses, Snider gives a strong vocal performance, aided by the band's backing group vocal, backed by similar instrumentation as before. A strong pre-chorus builds the song up further, with Snider giving a great vocal with some backing vocalists, carried by chugging guitar and the rhythm section. For the chorus, Snider's vocal is made very anthemic with the backing vocalists whilst the guitar and percussion flows nicely. Lyrically, the song is slightly suggestive, speaking of the dangerous and wild girl who will make you feel alright. Overall, whilst not instantly accessible like the album tracks, the song still makes great impact with the anthemic sound and strong vocal. "She'll close your eyes, she'll make you wise, be careful or you'll fall, quiet in betweens, she'll rip you clean, she's deadly. She's lightning fast from first and last, you'll feel just like a king, then she'll leave you cold and lonely, oh, she's deadly..."
Statutory Date is another track in the mould of a usual Twisted Sister track but this time with a strong commercial hook, making the song rather infectious and perhaps a little lighter in sound. The song opens with some melodic but not too light guitar, solid percussion and bass guitar. For the verses, Snider gives a memorable vocal over similar instrumentation as before. A pre-chorus builds the song up further, creating an anthemic sound with Snider's vocal and some backing vocalists, backed by solid guitar and the rhythm section. The song's chorus uses the main guitar riff, which along with the strong lead and backing vocal, creates a greatly infectious sound. Following the second chorus, a strong solo section highlights some solo lead guitar over the melodic rhythm guitar. Lyrically, the song speaks of one man's desire and infatuation for a young girl, a girl who is perhaps just a little too young. Overall, a strong track with some memorable instrumentation, great vocal and some solid lyrics. "Good looking, dressed to the nine, you know this little girl is gonna blow my mind. Big talking, I've nothing to say, you know I'd give my soul away..."
If That's What You Want is a strong driving track which manages to be memorable and hard hitting, again with a slightly lighter sound than the usual Twisted Sister song, perhaps because of the polished production. The song opens with some melodic lead guitar over chugging rhythm guitar, bass guitar and solid percussion. For the verses, Snider gives a strong and fitting vocal over solid guitar licks, with a short pause before the next line, where the guitar is able to briefly return to the original rhythm guitar riff. A strong pre-chorus follows, with Snider giving a strong vocal with backing vocalists over dominant guitar and the rhythm section. A strong chorus uses the song's main rhythm guitar riff whilst Snider's vocal and the backing vocalists create an anthemic section. Lyrically, the song speaks about the aftermath of a relationship, with the verses recalling the past and the chorus stating that if the ex-lover wishes to live life a new way then they can. Overall, a strong track with some great vocal, solid lyrics and memorable instrumentation. "Said you needed more, said you wanted things that I can't give. Well show me what you've got and tell me is that how you wanna live? Was what we had really that bad, was it hat wrong? Now all you've got, look what you've got, it's your own song, and your memories while you sing it along..."
The final bonus track I Will Win is a melodic and hard hitting track, one that really deserved a place on the original album. The song opens with some melodic lead guitar and a solid rhythm section, immediately creating a memorable and infectious sound. For the verses, Snider gives a great vocal performance over strong guitar licks whilst a pre-chorus section adds backing vocalists and some more dominant guitar in places, nicely building the song up to the chorus. The chorus itself is performed with the song's main melody, with Snider giving a memorable vocal with the backing vocalists, creating an anthemic sound. Lyrically, the song speaks of rebellion in the idea of a battle between two people, where the singer of the song is determined to win. Overall, an excellent track with some great vocal, strong lyrics and a good hook. "This war ain't over, hell, it ain't over till I choose, pick up your weapon, you'd best prepare yourself to lose. I am in control, no one's gonna take me, no one's gonna break me, vengeance is my goal and I'm gonna have it, break you like a habit..."
~~Album Background and Aftermath~~
Upon release, Love is For Suckers was not the big success it should have been, continuing the band's decline. The album peaked at #74 in America, #78 in Canada and #57 in the UK, although it also gained success in Europe, peaking at #11 in Norway, #17 in Switzerland, #43 in Sweden and #59 in Germany. The only single from the album was Hot Love, which failed to make much impact, only peaking at #31 on the American Mainstream Rock Chart, perhaps due to the move away from the usual Twisted Sister sound and into a more commercial pop metal influence. Whilst critical reception was mixed at the time, the album today is respected much more. Snider has said himself that although there are many great tracks on the album, the band don't play any live as it would bring back bad memories. Snider spoke of the album in a 2009 interview, stating "The recording, the promotion and touring of Love is For Suckers went on to kill the band. Management and the record company in their infinite wisdom know best. 'Oh, let's put five guys who can't stand each other in a studio for three months!'" Fortunately, the original band regrouped in 1997 and have been performing live together ever since, where the band also released a re-working of their 1984 album Stay Hungry, titled Still Hungry in 2004, as well as the 2006 holiday album A Twisted Christmas.
I highly recommend this album to any fan of 80s glam metal, 80s hair metal, 80s rock or 80s pop metal. The entire album may not be quite the usual Twisted Sister album, baring in mind that it was really a Dee Snider solo album, but it still has high quality songs throughout and deserved to be a bigger success than it was. The production from Beau Hill is excellent throughout, with the polished sound working nicely with the album's tracks, whilst the album's artwork is also rather catching. Today, the CD releases of the album are widely available, with the Spitfire Records edition being fully remastered as well as having the four bonus tracks. Overall, Love is For Suckers is a fine polished album, full up with strong hooks, anthemic vocals and an irresistible sing-a-long sound.
~Original Album Release~
1. Wake Up (The Sleeping Giant)
2. Hot Love
3. Love is For Suckers
4. I'm So Hot For You
6. Me and the Boys
7. One Bad Habit
8. I Want This Night (To Last Forever)
9. You Are All That I Need
10. Yeah Right
~CD Reissue/Remaster Release Bonus Tracks~
11. Feel Appeal
12. Statutory Date
13. If That's What You Want
14. I Will Win