REVIEW: Poison – Poison’d! (2007 Walmart version with bonus track)

POISOND_0001POISON – Poison’d! (2007 Capitol)

Talk about defying expectations.  As a general rule, covers albums suck.  By extension of that, you would certainly predict that a cover album by Poison would absolutely suck.  After all, the band Poison haven’t made a decent studio album in well over 20 years.  2002’s Hollyweird was junk.  Maybe it’s the presence of legendary producer Don Was, but Poison somehow managed to make a good cover album!  I’m almost worried about losing credibility by saying this.  I did indeed get Poison’d by it.

I think Poison are at their best when playing upbeat but hard pop rock numbers.  “Little Willy” by the Sweet is a great example of that kind of song, and it’s right up Bret’s alley.  It’s obvious that he doesn’t have the voice he once had (which wasn’t much to start with) but when Bret’s at home with a particular style it always works better.  “Little Willy” is hella fun.

Here’s my Bowie confession — this guy here is not a fan.  Maybe it’s over-exposure.  I do like the hits, and of those “Suffragette City” is one I enjoy.  Once again, Poison are at home, putting their slant on Bowie and somehow making it work.  I don’t even mind C.C.’s over the top guitar slop — silly but that’s his style.  I’m sure Bowie diehards will absolutely hate this.

The classic Alice Cooper ballad “I Never Cry” is a great song, and Poison throw a little twang on it while keeping it pretty true to the original.  Dick Wagner had a knack for writing incredible songs, and “I Never Cry” is one of the best he’s ever written.  As for Bret, he’ll never be Alice Cooper but he’s not trying to be.  Too bad C.C. can’t seem to hit the notes he’s searching for on the solo!  If Poison had done this in 1988, they absolutely would have had a hit with it.

You wouldn’t expect a band like Poison to have too many Tom Petty records in their collection, but they do a great job glamming up “I Need to Know”.  They nailed it by doing it in their style, and as long as you’re not too attached to Tom Petty’s original then you’ll dig it.   On the other hand, I can picture Bret having a whole bunch of albums by the Marshall Tucker Band.  “Can’t You Say” has that laid back, southern gospel rock vibe that Bret has been trying to copy for 25 years.  Unsurprisingly, “Can’t You See” is better than most of Bret’s originals in the same style.  Guitar solo aside it’s actually pretty great!

One song I really don’t care for anymore is “What I Like About You” by the Romantics.  Hearing a decent cover though ain’t so bad.  Surprisingly, once again, Poison do a great version.  C.C.’s soloing doesn’t fit the track, but hey, that’s C.C. for you.  Bret’s enthusiasm carries the track, which is in Poison rock mode.  Then they slip by covering the Rolling Stones.  “Dead Flowers” isn’t a song I would be brave enough to do, and Poison should have erred on the side of caution and not tried it.  This is filler, but I love the Cars, so I had my hopes up for the next track “Just What I Needed”.  No need to fear — this one is in that hard pop rock mode that Poison do very well.  It reminds me of their own song “So Tell Me Why” in tone.   Count this one as an album highlight and personal favourite.

Some previously released tracks fill out the set.  A Poison covers album should include their first cover, “Rock ‘N Roll All Nite”.  This Kiss cover (produced by Rick fucking Rubin, no shit) was first released on the Less Than Zero soundtrack in 1987.  You can also hear it in the background at the start of their music video for “Nothin’ But a Good Time”.  I do not like it, but it’s nice to include.  The Who’s “Squeeze Box” was originally from the aforementioned Hollyweird CD, and it’s sadly (but not surprisingly) a stinker.  Jim Croce’s “You Don’t Mess Around With Jim” is a demo from 1987, previously released on the remastered Look What the Cat Dragged On.  Not bad when you want a taste of that old-style Poison.

I think it’s kind of odd to put “Your Mama Don’t Dance” on this CD, since pretty much every Poison fan in the world already has that song.  But here’s the overrated Loggins and Messina cover for you one more time!  “We’re An American Band” was also previously released, on the Poison best of 20 Years of Rock.  (“Rock ‘N Roll All Nite” and “Your Mama Don’t Dance” are also on that CD.)  It’s a good tune on which to end the CD.

Except it’s not!  Walmart’s version of the CD had a bonus track, and it’s a baffling one.  I’m very proud to say that I have never heard the song “Sexy Back” by Justin Timberlake.  Having said that, I’m sure it’s better than Poison’s industrial-flavoured version.  A colonoscopy is better than this.  So essentially what Walmart have done is ended the album with a colonoscopy for you.  You’re welcome!

Missing: “Cover of the Rolling Stone” from the Crack A Smile album. Too bad, as that would have been better than getting “Your Mama Don’t Dance” yet again. Also missing (but not missed): “God Save the Queen” from the remastered Flesh & Blood.

Overall though?  Good CD.

4/5 stars

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45 comments

  1. Man, everytime you bring up Poison once in a blue moon, the last time I thought about Poison was the last time you mentioned them!

    I didnt know this record existed. I’m not likely to run right out to buy it, but I appreciate your review and letting us know what’s on there.

    Dead Flowers? Really? Oof, that’s Exile territory (my fave!) I mean, I get it. It’s so easy even I can play it. But there’s only one band that oughta do that song… and it ain’t Poison. Haha wow. Some of the other ones you mention too. Tom Petty? Bowie? Yikes.

    Well, good on ’em for trying, I guess. But I might throw my vote into this thing’s existence being unnecessary.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Nice one! Would you believe I totally knew that? How many times have I played both of those records? So many, I think maybe they have blurred together in my mind!

        I did just make a CD-R for the car that had 1964-1974 on it, and it was on random play, so perhaps it’s all one big happy pile in my head by now…

        But yes, you’re absolutely correct. Dead Flowers is on Sticky Fingers. I’m glad you’re here to help me when my brain misfires!

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    1. Na, it’s existence is very welcome, but it could have been trimmed to a mini-album or extended EP. They do such a surprisingly great job on most of these covers. Meanwhile artists that are considered “better” put out shitty cover albums!

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  2. My suggestion to Poison would be to make a country cover album. The country music charts are filled with covers. Whenever I listen to my mom’s radio station I can pick out dozens of rock covers. Anyway, country and country/rock songs are right up Poison’s alley and the only way they are getting back in popularity. They could go on tour with Kid Rock or Lynyrd Skynyrd and gain a ton of new fans.
    They could have some old school country stars do cameos on the album. This would help Poison and the old stars that are out of the limelight. I still think stars such as Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton, Reba, Hank Williams Jr etc have something to give and this might be a good forum.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tentative titles.

      Steaming Pile of Poison.
      Has beens and never was’
      Headbands and overalls.
      Farmers and facelifts
      Poson before the shovel
      Barnyard bandanas
      Hicks that look like chicks
      What happens when cousins marry

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  3. Sexy Back is a colonoscopy fave, don’t you know? They play it in the procedure room!
    Seriously, that song is annoying on a good day (very much not a good moment for Justin Timberlake).
    Bret’s lipstick choice is not a good look for him. Someone needs to tell him he needs a darker shade.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. There are a couple of decent tunes on this album, maybe two couple, but for the most, I really think this album blows. As you said, most cover album sucks and this one is no exception. I still think Tesla and Stryper made good cover albums, though.
    Thing is, the original tunes on this album are brilliant songs played by really good musicians and Poison, well, they’re just not good enough for these songs, in my opinion.
    Poison gets away with Unskinny Bop bop bop bop and Nothin’ But A Good time because, well, they’re Poison tunes, but when they try to do justice to tunes by The Stones, Bowie, Sweet… well, it just don’t work.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think it does with a lot of the tunes. You’re right about Tesla and Stryper though, those are GREAT albums. The thing about Tesla is there are bonus tracks out there that I am missing and it drives me NUTS.

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