Hollyweird may as well be subtitled “Coming to a used CD bin near you!!!”
If you’re a Poison fan and you just looked
at the rating I just gave their new release, you’re undoubtedly thinking,
“Well no critics like Poison anyway, so screw this guy.” Although I’d never
call Poison one of my favorites by a long shot, there is a certain respect
I hold for them. Songs like “Unskinny Bop” I couldn’t in good conscience
call “art,” but it – as well as several other songs in the Poison catalogue—does
have an infectious nature that qualifies it as a secret, guilty pleasure.
Sure, my expectations may have been unnecessarily high for the new Poison CD. With their current status, they are THE 80’s hair champions, successfully (and amazingly) resurfacing as one of the biggest concert draws over these past few years. Plus, this is their first studio album of new material since their full-blown reformation with guitarist C.C. Deville in 1999. Their “Power To The People” live CD a couple years back included a few new studio tracks, and those songs were good enough to leave me optimistic for a FULL album. Well, now I have that album, thinking that surely, they must have plenty of high-quality tunes written in that time span from then till now, right?
Well, sadly, this disc for the most part sucks. Sucks as hard as a groupie trying to get backstage at a Poison concert. The disc’s production makes them sound like they recorded this in their cousin’s garage in a couple of takes, and although this was probably an intentional attempt to bring a raw edge to the music, the songs just come off sounding like incomplete demos as a result. Looking past that, the songs themselves just aren’t very catchy or lyrically interesting. Like I said, Poison isn’t supposed to be about meaningful artistic expression, but even taken as a ‘party-rock’ CD, “Hollyweird” isn’t going to liven up too many parties any time soon, unless your idea of partying is a few rounds of Boggle with the grand-folk.
With Hollyweird, there’s nothing new expressed, and what they retread here they have done much better in the past.
The plusses? Their Who cover of “Squeeze Box” (the first and probably only single) is catchy, and one of the 2 versions of “Home” is a lot of fun to listen to. Oh yeah, for some reason, they put the song “Home” twice on the album—back to back, no less – and they are musically identical except for the vocalist and lyrics… Both are decent, but C.C. Deville’s version is just downright entertaining, especially when compared to the rather tired lyrics of the rest of the album. Sure, C.C.’s voice doesn’t hold a candle to lead vocalist Bret Michaels’, but he has a charm that can’t be denied. Personality goes a long way. That has been the secret to Poison’s success. “Hollyweird” in general, unfortunately, has a surprising lack of it.
Scott Vile’s Album Pick: Home (C.C.’s Story) (2:44)