REVIEW: Warrant – The Best of Warrant (1996)

WARRANT – The Best of Warrant (1996 Sony)

Whooboy.  Look, I’m sure Warrant are a nice bunch of guys, and poor Jani sure suffered his demons.  I’ve always considered Warrant a bit of a jokey band, and that was certainly true for the first two albums.  Even when I did love ’em (that would be August and September of 1989), I always sensed that they weren’t taking anything very seriously.   I had their live video, Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich – Live. Lemme tell ya, they were just too jokey and inconsistent live. I outgrew Warrant pretty fast. Which in a way was too bad, because the next album after our “breakup” was the critically acclaimed third record Dog Eat Dog.

All this being said, their first Best Of (1996) was actually a reasonably solid collection of songs, if a bit long at 57 minutes.  You get the three big hits from album #1, including “Down Boys”, “Sometimes She Cries”, and “Heaven”.  Decent also-rans from that album include “32 Pennies” and “Big Talk”.  Nothing but pure stink is “D.R.F.S.R.”, a song I never understood the popularity of among Warrant fans.  I guess the joke is still funny to some?

Album #2, Cherry Pie, was a mixed bag like its predecessor.  The title track of course was the biggest steaming pile of crap released by a rock band in the year 1990.  Having said that, there is video evidence of a young LeBrain rocking out to it, but I didn’t really know what Jani was singing about!  We all have our musical skeletons in our closets, I believe.  Mine is that there is a VHS tape in my house right now with footage of me, age 18, lip synching to “Cherry Pie”.  I cannot lie about that.

Cherry Pie didn’t suck all the way through, however.  It was a step up in sound, and boasted some cool tunes.  “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” is the one Warrant song that really still stands up today as a great single.  “Mr. Rainmaker” is also a pretty memorable rocker, with chorus built to please.  I like that they included two single B-sides on this set.  The pop rock track “Thin Disguise” was always better than most of the album tracks.  Perhaps it was too middle of the road?  Not quite ballad, not quite rocker, but pretty classy nonetheless.  And please note, “classy” is not a word often used to describe a Warrant song.  The other B-side was the acoustic version of “I Saw Red”, which was actually released as its own music video.

Things seemed to get most interesting with Warrant on their third album.  By 1992, Warrant were absolutely buried by the new wave of grunge rock bands that swept in between their albums.   They were also playing catch-up with the biggest metal albums of the period, Metallica and Slave to the Grind (Skid Row).  These high-charting smash hits were much heavier than Warrant’s general output.  They had to heavy up; they really had no choice.  They started wearing Doc Marten boots and growing facial stubble.  It all seemed so very contrived, and according to Jani Lane, it was.  Even though he was the soul songwriter, he later claimed to strongly dislike the new heavier direction Warrant took.  He quit Warrant briefly after this album to explore mellower Mellencamp-esque songs and ballads.  It was all very shocking and confusing, considering that Warrant’s heavy and choppy single “Machine Gun” was so fucking awesome.  Not that it mattered.  Nobody but die-hards were listening to Warrant in 1992.  I only ever saw the video for “Machine Gun” on TV once.  Once!  Compare that to the mega-exposure that “Heaven” and “I Saw Red” once had.

What Sony should have done with this CD is end it there.  But no, they tacked on one more useless song at the end, the horrendously putrid cover of “We Will Rock You”.  This was done for a really early Cuba Gooding Jr. movie called Gladiator.  Warrant actually had two songs on the soundtrack, but this one was released as a single.  In my opinion, if you choose to cover “We Will Rock You”, then you are doomed.  Warrant were doomed before they even set foot in a recording studio.

Overall, not a bad little Best Of.  You get the requisite non-album tracks, and they are generally good (“We Will Rock You” being the big exception).  All the big songs are included.  You have to wade through a little bit of poo, but otherwise The Best of Warrant is pretty solid.

3.5/5 stars

 

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38 comments

        1. I saw that picture.

          It actually read ‘This guy is awesome. He is the smartest musical mofo ever. Give him whatever he wants and bow to his aweeomeness.’

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  1. This getting 3.5/5 just doesnt compute to me at all. This is one of the worst bands of all time. Saying this band sucks doesnt even scratch the surface of the reality. You gave the exact same rating of 3.5/5 for a Van Halen best of. You gave a lower rating (2.8/5) for For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge. I just dont get it. Any of it ……

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      1. I would hope as well that anyone writing a record review would atleast listen to the album twice before they review it,,,,and I am sure that is what you do as well. (Depending on what it is, some probably only need one listen before a review is written because of how well you already know said album) Personally, this band irks me to no end. Everything about them. I find the song “Down Boys” to be the one of the worst songs I have ever heard. You yourself have stated that “Cherry Pie” could be your worst song of all time. My experience being forced to see Warrant live (opening for Metallica and Aerosmith) was horrific. It was their Cherry Pie tour, and the boos that rained down were as predictable as they were viiolent. Even my gf at the time was yelling Warrant sucks and she wasnt really a big music fan.

        Now. as for this issue of trolling. First of all, I am not assuming that your comment of “what you usually say to trolls” is you saying that I am “trolling”. I think I have consistently given my opinion on this blog, whether in the comments or doing some sort of review, both honestly and fairly. I did not give my opinion to incite a riot, to provoke, or start a flame war, It’s my opinion, and it’s as valid as the review itself.

        If I was forced to listen to Warrant’s Greatest Hits so I could write a rebuttal review, and IF I survived the self-inflicted gun shot wound, my comments would be much more venomous than any comments I have made either in doing a review or in the comments here. In closing…… I very much appreciate the work and passion you put into this blog. Subsequently, if everyone who follows and reads the content are “Yes Men”, there wouldnt be much need for a comments section at all. Quite obviously your knowledge of music has it’s own top shelf status. You certainly resemble being the Obi Wan Kenobi of rock and roll and most of its tributaries. “With great power comes great responsibility” Less cryptically stated….. While knowing and respecting your music knowledge and opinions, it makes it even easier for some of your reviews to elicit a negative response. That of which, you realize comes with the territory.

        Even less cryptically stated …. Warrant sucks. You dont suck

        Love Meat

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        1. Oh for sure the troll comment was not about you. But when some jackass named MustaineMaven leaves a troll comment about a review and never offers any thing else…that pisses me off. But it’s OK because MustaineMaven is going into my next installment of WTF Comments!

          I do think Cherry Pie might be the stinkiest poo ever laid. It’s awful and so is most of their first two albums. For sure! But given that, I think their Best Of isn’t all that bad. Most of the shit is trimmed out and some good rarer tracks help immensely!

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      1. You can’t get too hung up on the number ratings. Some reviewers don’t even use them. I spend way too much time working on the words to get too worked up about fractions. This CD could be 3/5 but I wouldn’t go lower. It’s not bad enough to go lower. Uncle Tom and Machine Gun are great little tunes!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I use the number rating as well. I respect your ratings more than mine. I think I lean more towards giving a band I like a good score. You have been doing this longer than me and seem to give honest ratings of where an album deserves to be. I think I like Warrant more than most of the commenters here, but I agree they were more of a joke band that I liked back in the later days of hairband.
          By using number ratings there will always be people that disagree with our ratings. Too high, too low. Sometimes just right.
          I would say to others that disagree and can say so in the comments, WordPress will allow you to post a comparison album review and give it whatever number rating you want.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. That’s what I usually say to trolls — show me your site so we can critique your reviews!

          But if somebody wants to review this, I hope they do what I do — play the whole thing multiple times and put your biases at the door. At least that’s what I try to do.

          Liked by 1 person

        3. I don’t consider a passionate music fan that may disagree strongly with a review to be a troll. However, there is a fine line between disagreeing and perhaps hurtful and insulting. We all have to walk it. I have almost posted things in the comments section, then before hitting send I read it, and changed the wording.
          It seems many others hate Warrant with a passion here. I would be interested in reading a review by the haters. Sometimes these reviews are fun to read.
          As for listening to albums numerous times before a review, I usually do this as well. The exception would be a new album I am looking forward to and want to get it out there the day it comes out.

          Liked by 1 person

        4. Don’t get me wrong Uncle Meat is not a troll, but I’ve been trolled many times, with useless comments. I’m sure you’ve seen some. Those trolls — show me what you got! Lemme see your work. Let’s go. Do your own and do it your way. And then let me have a gander.

          I try to get minimum two listens in even with a new release. I managed two listens to Maiden on release day!

          Liked by 1 person

        5. Maiden album release date conversation.

          “It seems Mike is very focused on that work project since he came back from lunch.”
          “That’s great. Let’s give him a raise, and a promotion.”

          Work project = New Iron Maiden album.

          ;)

          Liked by 1 person

        6. Hahahah no that wasn’t it :) It was a Friday, Jen picked up the CD for me at Walmart, and we did a good intense listen on the road that night on the way to the cottage. Managed to eke out a few reviews ideas in the car. When we got to the cottage I opened up the laptop for listen #2 and wrote the review. I think I had it done around midnight for my regular post time!

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  2. Underrated band. Great musicians and Jani Lane was a great song writer and singer.
    The two first albums suffered most from Beau Hill’s non-edge production, but if one listens carefully to the songs’ structure, a way heavier picture shows. Stuff like Sure Feels Good To Me is pure metal.
    Of course, there were some cheesier moments, like their ballads, but for the most Warrant did write som excellent songs.
    But you really should give Dog Eat Dog a chance, it’s a monster album, really and even there are a couple of songs that reminds me of the two first albums, most of that album was unpredictable and surprising. And heavier than ever,
    Also, I usually vomit over bands that jumps on every bandwagon coming their way, but Warrant very 90’s sounding Ultraphobic is one helluva beast. Killer record.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ultraphobic was surprisingly good. Considering the crap album cover, lineup changes, and turmoil in the band I was surprised how good it was.

      I don’t think Warrant were as talented as you are saying thing, I think they had a lot of help in the writing department. I know from an old guitar interview that Erik and Joey had two instructors to help them write solos.

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      1. They had Mike Slamer come in and play some stuff on the two first albums, but far from everything. I think that Joey Allen is an underrated player, though and the same for drummer Steven Sweet.

        Liked by 1 person

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