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Poison are a glam rock band and are best known for their big hit 'Every Rose Has Its Thorn' and their pretentious sleaze rock album 'Look What the Cat Dragged In' back in the late 80's. Singer Bret Michaels and lead guitarist C.C Deville have had a very chequered past (Michaels in fact was the first person to have a sex-tape made with Pam Anderson), but behind all that nonsense, they made some pretty good songs.
Poison released their 7th album on a unsuspecting rock audience back in 2007. I read recently that lead singer Bret Michaels has had a brain haemorrhage (that and being a contestant on the American version of Celebrity Apprentice). Poison'd is a collection of cover songs that were both recorded just for this album and came from previous albums. So what's it like?
The album can be split into the more successful covers and the less successful covers. When the albums hits its mark it does so incredibly well, when it doesn't it fall flat on its face. Let's examine the evidence.
Poison are essentially an 80's glam rock band at heart and the best songs here are the actual glam rock covers. Their storming version of Sweet's 'Little Willy' is brilliant and deserves to be first on the album. Even their cover of the classic David Bowie track 'Suffragette City' is pretty good. Poison are able to emulate the 70's sound, but still hold their own as a hair metal group. They're just the same old band they ever were - it's as if grunge never happened.
The songs that sound good are the most simple sing-along variety. Tom Petty's 'I Need to Know' is very good, as is the anthemic Kiss number 'Rock and Roll All Nite'. Even less familiar songs like 'You Don't Mess Around With Jim' by Jim Croce and Loggins /Messina's 'Your Mama Don't Dance' sound pretty good. Most of these songs suit Bret Michael's voice and C.C. Deville, while not a great guitarist, is able to shred a few solos here and there on these good songs.
The slower numbers aren't that great really. Their version of one of my favourite country rock songs by The Marshall Tucker Band 'Can't You See' seems to zap all of the emotional from the song. If you know Poison's greatest hit 'Every Rose Has Its Thorn', it's very similar to that in essence.
I can't say that their version of The Who's 'Squeeze Box' is that great, almost totally changing the chugging sound of that song into a glam-nightmare. 'Dead Flowers' by The Stones also suffers the same fate, having all the life sucked out of it - much like Susanne Boyle's atrocious version of 'Wild Horses' more recently.
And then there's 'SexyBack', a ludicrous Justin Timberlake cover that serves very little purpose here, if only as a mere curiosity more than anything. What in the hell were they thinking?!
They aren't the most obvious rock covers either, they have been thought about carefully and not just picked out from a greatest rock album. They could so easily have done 'Blockbuster' by Sweet, or 'Elected' by Alice Cooper or 'Paint It Black' by The Stones, instead they have tried to be a little more leftfield and picked some more unusual numbers.
The album's sound is decent throughout, even though some songs were recorded back in the late 80's and some in 2007, there is hardly any disparity between songs and you would never really have known either way. With top-flight producers like Don Was and Rick Rubin, it must sound pretty good!
Bret Michaels doesn't have the greatest voice and C.C Deville was never Eddie Van Halen, but they carry off enough enthusiasm to make Poison'd a pretty enjoyable experience.
1. "Little Willy" (originally performed by Sweet)
2. "Suffragette City" (originally performed by David)
3. "I Never Cry" (originally performed by Alice Cooper)
4. "I Need to Know" (originally performed by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers)
5. "Can't You See" (originally performed by The Marshall Tucker Band)
6. "What I Like About You" (originally performed by The Romantics)
7. "Dead Flowers" (originally performed by The Rolling Stones)
8. "Just What I Needed" (originally performed by The Cars)
9. "Rock and Roll All Nite" (originally performed by KISS)
10. "Squeeze Box" (originally performed by The Who)
11. "You Don't Mess Around with Jim" (originally performed by Jim Croce)
12. "Your Mama Don't Dance" (originally performed by Loggins and Messina)
13. "We're An American Band" (originally performed by Grand Funk Railroad)
14. "SexyBack" (originally performed by Justin Timberlake)
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Just What I Needed
2 What I Like About You
3 I Need To Know
4 Dead Flowers
5 Suffragette City
6 Little Willie
7 I Never Cry
8 Can't You See
9 Your Mama Don't Dance
10 Rock 'N' Roll All Nite
11 We're An American Band
12 You Don't Mess Around With Jim
13 Squeeze Box