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Reviews

Poison Hollyweird

By Diana DeVille, Rock Goddess
Wednesday, May 29, 2002 @ 11:11 AM


(Cyanide Music)

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Okay, okay -- I know what you’re thinking: “I KNOW she likes the record.” So let me tell you why. Poison has always been known as a “fun” band, and Hollyweird takes the glam slam kings of noize back to their roots. The CD has been compared to the band’s debut release Look What the Cat Dragged In, so in a nutshell, if you liked the Poison of the ‘80s/early ‘90s era, you’re gonna dig this collection of tunes.

The central focus of this new offering is life in the big bad city of Hollywood and all the fun, decadence and hard times that living in the rock world entails, many of which details the rough and rowdy band members have seen up close and personal.

The title song “Hollyweird” kicks off the record with a high energy bang, and it just keeps running all the way to the finish line, nicely wrapping up with the now-familiar bonus track of “Rock Star,” the single that was released in time for last year’s Glam Slam Metal Jam tour. After “Hollyweird,” there is a “Poison-ized” (as frontman Bret Michaels explains it) version of the Who’s “Squeezebox,” followed by a couple of thoughts on the “Fallen Angel” theme of young people coming to Hollywood in hopes of fulfilling their dreams: “Shooting Star” reads like a mini-movie where you can just see the heroine of the song riding off into the sunset as the credits roll, whereas “Wishful Thinkin’” is a fun little ditty about how nothing is exactly how you envision it in your dreams.

Poison would not be Poison without some down and dirty sex action desire, and “Get Ya Some” conjures up images of a pole and some very skimpily clad ladies. “Devil Woman,” one of my absolute personal favorites on the CD, is a great driving song as the guys get into a tight grooving jam, complete with harmonica. I always have to hit the repeat button when I get to that one. “Wasteland” is the rock anthem of the record, invoking a long ride on a great Harley, and bringing to mind Flesh and Blood’s “Ride the Wind.” On the other hand, “Stupid Stoned and Drunk” is a look back at the pain of a breakup and the aftermath.

Balancing out the fun, happy “let’s party” side of the record written by Bret are the two more somber tunes penned by guitarist C.C. DeVille, “Emperor’s New Clothes” and “Living in the Now.” Not only are DeVille’s lyrics more serious, and at times self-deprecating, but he takes the band in a more pop-oriented direction (which he honed on last year’s Samantha 7 project), adding a different dimension to the “nothing but a good time” image of Poison.

One interesting facet of the record was the inclusion of two separate versions of the song “Home,” one written by Michaels, the other by DeVille. The songs are two flipside viewpoints about living in Hollywood. Michaels’ version, as expected, is a more happy version of loving L.A., having a home base (The Rainbow) when home, and generally just being pleased to be in “Hollyweird,” whereas DeVille’s version centers more around having been away from home, having many bad experiences and wishing to get back to the safe ground away from the “bad” place.

Overall, the record is very typical Poison. Michaels, DeVille, drummer Rikki Rockett and bassist Bobby Dall are all in the pocket and putting forth tight performances, and Hollyweird is a very well done record that leaves you feeling good at the end. The band has had to put up with a lot of criticism throughout their career, and this record serves as a sort of griffin for Poison, rising up from the ashes of the 1990’s and proving once again that there is, after all, a place in the rock community for “happy rock” side by side with all the other types of metal currently available in the marketplace.

Currently Poison is touring in support of the new record, the Hollyweird World Tour 2002 with special guests Cinderella, Winger and Faster Pussycat. Enter to win tickets on the contest page.

*****


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