REVIEW: Poison – Hollyweird (2002)

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.

1/5 stars

  1. “Hollyweird” – 3:15
  2. “Squeeze Box” – 2:32 (The Who cover)
  3. “Shooting Star” – 4:39
  4. “Wishful Thinkin'” – 2:49
  5. “Get ‘Ya Some” – 4:22
  6. “Emperor’s New Clothes” – 2:15
  7. “Devil Woman” – 3:47
  8. “Wasteland” – 3:56
  9. “Livin’ In The Now” – 2:37
  10. “Stupid, Stoned & Dumb” – 3:10
  11. “Home” (Bret’s Story) – 2:49
  12. “Home” (C.C.’s Story) – 2:47
  13. “Rockstar” – 3:33
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41 comments

  1. I only have ‘Cat Dragged In, and I was so surprised and pleased with how good it was, that I’ve just bought ‘Say Ahh and Flesh&Blood off amazon there for under £1 each. I guess I’ll avoid this one.

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  2. Sound like one you’ve reviewed so no-one else has to! You’ve done a great public service by the sounds of it! I’ve not ever heard this but the mere thought of Poison doing Squeeze Box is cringe-worthy enough.

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        1. That would have saved me confusion at the cash register. Much like Ozzy Osbourne, I thought Poison were girls the first time I saw them. I thought they were pretty ugly girls, except Bret. LOL

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  3. Poison is among the many, many hair metal bands I’ve never been very into. Although, the fact that people who like hair metal don’t like this album makes me wonder if I’d enjoy it…
    Probably not though. While we may not like it for different reasons I’m guessing we’d all dislike it for essentially the same one.

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    1. Some of the hair metal bands had some quality going on somewhere. Poison have to be given credit for songwriting, because they wrote all their own originals. And let’s face it, for pop rock, songs like Nothing But A Good Time and Fallen Angel are good songs!

      But this album sucks. Plain and simple, can’t put it any better than that.

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  4. What a piece of crap this was. There was a band called Roxy Blue in the early noughties who also did a cover of Squeeze Box. That sucked as well, but not as a bad as this version. And CC DeVille is by far the worlds crappiest guitarist, hands down. He’s a joke. Makes the rest of the band sound like GIT students – or whatever.
    I kinda like Poison as well, the early stuff, if you takes them as a “what you see id what you get” kinda band. But the albums with Kotzen and Saraceno are both awesome. Sounds like a different band.

    Oh, what’s the deal with “hair metal” anyway? Please, there isn’t, have never been and will never be a genre called hair metal. Back in 1991 no one used that term. And for anyone who begs to differ on that one, please lemme know how hair metal sounds…

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    1. I like the term Hair Metal, it is a good umbrella term that links a few similar streams of bands together. I think its a valid and useful term.
      I know Bon Jovi, W.A.S.P, Poison and Quiet Riot are all very different bands, but think about it…. Linkin Park, Limp Bizkit, Korn and Deftones couldn’t sound more different from eachother. Slayer, Megadeth, Anthrax and Metallica are a very diverse bunch with a lot of differences.

      The thing is, if you said Hair Metal, Nu Metal or Thrash Metal I’d have a pretty good idea what sound you were referring to.

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      1. No, the term doesn’t do justice to the music. I mean, Bret Michaels is bald under his wig so I guess he plays bald metal or skull metal then? Everyone had hair back then which means Metallica were a hair metal band.
        Skid Row and Nelson aren’t even from the same planet so how can both be hair metal? Metallica and Megadeth both counts as Thrash because that’s what they play even though they have their own sound. Cinderella and Bon Jovi aren’t in the same genre at all which means that the hair metal moniker isn’t valid.

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        1. I would say personally that it doesn’t matter. As human being we like to put things in categories so it’s easier to think about them. We’ve been doing it since time immemorial. We all have different standards for what we put in our categories. For example I put Alice In Chains in my “metal” box…but back in the 1990’s that would have been considered sacrilege.

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        2. That’s the problem with good bands. It only the generic ones that really fit perfectly into a genre, because they aren’t original. All the innovators and people who actually make the genre exist in the first place are all distinctive and unique, and we just invent a genre that’s the kind of hypothetical similarity between the innovators. The mean or median of their styles.

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        3. I don’t think that Cinderella sounds anything like either Bon Jovi or Metallica.
          But the thing is, Thrash, Black, Speed and Death Metal are all genres and even though two bands, say Anthrax and Slayer, doesn’t sound alike they still share the genre.
          Hair metal isn’t a genre, never have been. There isn’t a style of music called hair metal. It’s a term that is invented by people who doesn’t like that kind of music and I actually think it’s pretty condesending.
          In Sweden they started to call it poodle rock in the mid 90’s just for mockery – to put all those bands down. No matter how anyone might see it, Bon Jovi and Skid Row does not share any genre

          Liked by 1 person

    2. If I may interject —

      I first heard the term “hair metal” in 1991. These two kids used that phrase when I told them I had tickets to see Cinderella, and they meant it in a derogatory way. “Eww, hair metal!” I cannot forget the date because I saw Cinderella on the Heartbreak Station tour.

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    1. That’s cool to know. I always like hearing stories about rock stars who don’t disappoint in person. I think when Poison were in their prime, Bret wrote some pretty great songs! I sure was a fan in highschool.

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