Dedicated to Iron Tom Sharpe, who doesn’t understand that sometimes you just have to blow off steam and review a shitty album.
POISON – Hollyweird (2002 Cyanide Music)
I have a soft spot for Poison, and I have every album. Every album that is, except Hollyweird. After several spins in-store, I realized this was never an album I was going to listen to again. (Although I did, for this review actually — you’re welcome.) Let’s face it, a “classic Poison lineup” reunion is not exactly earthshaking, especially when they traded down a true maestro in Blues Saraceno for CC to return. Not to mention Richie Kotzen before him. CC will never be classified as a guitar hero. It’s CC’s songwriting that he brings to the Poison table, that and some sloppily good rhythms. However Poison’s songwriting on Hollyweird is much like the production values — flat and dull.
13 songs clocking in at just over 40 minutes, this is a collection of short pop rockers and ballads. The cover of “Squeeze Box” is pretty putrid, and Who fans would cringe if they happened upon it. Most of the originals are just plain dull, lacking the bombast, hooks, flash and excitement of any previous Poison album, Native Tongue included. If only Poison could have continued along the lines that they were pursuing with Crack A Smile, or even re-recorded it with CC. Alas, this is the worst of all Poison studio albums, and it was such a lame duck that the band never recorded another one (as of 2014, this is the most recent Poison studio album aside from the covers-only Poison’d).
The opening and riff to “Hollyweird” is pretty decent, but the song itself is pretty suck-tastic. Maybe I should take back what I said about CC. He’s the only good thing about this song. “Shooting Star” (a supposed sequel to “Fallen Angel”) is annoyingly bass heavy, and Bobby Dall ain’t that great a bassist. CC’s riff is the only good thing about it, since the chorus is drowned out in mush. Thom Panuzio isn’t a hack producer by any stretch, but he didn’t even show up on Hollyweird. Then, somebody thought it would be a good idea to let CC DeVille sing lead on “Emperor’s New Clothes”. The sad thing is it’s one of the better songs (even though it sounds more like Sum 41 than Poison). CC sings three songs on Hollyweird, but who cares?
Lowlights: Stinky “Squeeze Box,” whack “Wishful Thinkin’,” generic “Get Ya Some,” dull “Devil Woman,” horrible “Home”…or should I say “Homes,” since both Bret and CC have their own versions of this pop-punk wannabe? (In a row!)
Highlights: “Wasteland,” maybe.
Tired, dull, derivative…pick your adjective.
- “Hollyweird” – 3:15
- “Squeeze Box” – 2:32 (The Who cover)
- “Shooting Star” – 4:39
- “Wishful Thinkin'” – 2:49
- “Get ‘Ya Some” – 4:22
- “Emperor’s New Clothes” – 2:15
- “Devil Woman” – 3:47
- “Wasteland” – 3:56
- “Livin’ In The Now” – 2:37
- “Stupid, Stoned & Dumb” – 3:10
- “Home” (Bret’s Story) – 2:49
- “Home” (C.C.’s Story) – 2:47
- “Rockstar” – 3:33