#744: A Poison-ous List

GETTING MORE TALE #744: A Poison-ous List

Over 30 years of being a band, and yet Poison only have a handful of albums!  We won’t get into the whys and wherefores, for they are many.  In terms of studio music, Poison have:

  • 6 full studio albums
  • 2 live albums with about an EP’s worth of new songs
  • 1 covers album

That’s it.  There are more live records and greatest hits, but Poison don’t have much music to show for such a long time in the business.

Naturally, anybody with an opinion has their own list of worst-to-first Poison albums.  The only thing special about mine is my conviction that I’m right and everybody else is wrong!

 

 

#9:  Hollyweird 2002

Poison’s last album of original songs was not a letdown at all.  To be disappointed, you have to have expectations.  I don’t think anybody expected much out of Poison in 2002.  This dull, bland album had no hits for a good reason.  Was Bret saving his best material for his solo career?

#8:  Power to the People 2000

Part live, part studio, this album should be included as it was the first new Poison material with C.C. Deville in a decade.  Shame that the studio songs are largely forgettable.  All but “I Hate Every Bone in Your Body but Mine”, sung by an autotuned C.C., which you’ll wish you could forget.  Nobody asked for this, nor the live guitar and drum solos.  In concert, Poison need to play long solos so Bret Michaels can take his insulin.  On album, there is no excuse for including such boring solos.

#7:  Swallow This Live  1991

This album is plagued by the same problem as Power to the People:  horribly long live solos that should have been omitted.  At least the studio side was decent.  There were two pretty good songs, and one excellent single called “So Tell Me Why”.  Possibly their best single, actually.  Unfortunately you had to wade through 2 CDs of crap to get to it.

#6:  Poison’d!  2007

Kinda sad that Poison’s last album was a covers album over 10 years ago.  Still, it was a surprisingly good covers album.  Just delete the Walmart bonus track “SexyBack” and you’re all set for nothing’ but a good time.  Incidentally this is the easiest place to find Poison’s first recorded cover, “Rock and Roll all Nite”!

#5:  Crack A Smile…And More!  2000

In 1994, Poison began working on their first album with new guitarist Blues Saraceno.  It sat unreleased for another six years.  When it finally came out, it was beefed up with two new B-sides, the cool and unfinished “Crack A Smile” demo, an old B-side with C.C., and four songs from MTV Unplugged (also with C.C.).  Hence the “And More!” tag in the title.  Saraceno is a wiz on the guitar, and with Poison he wrote some cool songs.  Just not enough for such a long album.  There’s a bit of filler on Crack A Smile, but for guitar playing it’s one of their best.

#4:  Look What the Cat Dragged In  1986

I know, I know, it’s their “classic” debut, right?  But it ain’t produced so good, and there’s some filler in those grooves.  The singles, however, are all great, with “Cry Tough” joining “So Tell Me Why” as one of their all-time best.  Poison had an adorable rawness and party attitude, but like many bands they got better as they went.

#3:  Open Up and Say…Ahh!  1988

This is when Poison really started getting good.  By my measure, this album only has one filler song, “Bad to Be Good”.  There’s actually some stunning material here, including non-singles like “Love On the Rocks”.  It has the big ballad (and only one ballad!) as well as the unforgettable “Nothing But a Good Time“.  Open Up and Say…Ahh! is definitely the best of Poison’s “party rock” albums.

#2:  Flesh & Blood 1990

A lot of people consider this to be Poison’s best, and while that argument can be made, I just can’t get past “Poor Boy Blues”.  That song is so awful it leaves a limburger-like aftertaste.  (It’s even worse when it’s extended on Swallow This Live.)  “Unskinny Bop” is painfully dumb, a fact we recognized back in 1990.  It didn’t fit the more mature sound Poison were going for with new producer Bruce Fairbairn.  “Why is this song the single?” we asked each other, as we discovered way better material buried inside.  “Valley of Lost Souls”, “Sacrifice”, and “Life Loves a Tragedy” were never singles but certainly catalogue highlights.  Flesh & Blood also boasts two of their best ballads, “Something to Believe In” and “Life Goes On”.  It’s a tough album to beat.

#1:  Native Tongue 1993

But Native Tongue does surpass Flesh & Blood,  thanks to the supernatural talents of Mr. Richie Kotzen.  On paper, it was a slam dunk.  Poison were never taken seriously as musicians, but with Kotzen, suddenly that bar was raised.  That tone!  Earthy and hot.  He was a shredder, and a soulful singer/songwriter.  He dominated Native Tongue.  Unfortunately the personalities didn’t mesh (or so we will word it).  It was a weird fit, but it resulted in a very special album.  Most of the songs are clearly Richie’s, with Bret Michaels singing.  (It’s possible that Richie played other instruments as well, but we’ll leave that to speculation.)  Kotzen brought to Poison a real soulful bent that they simply didn’t have without him, although they sure did try on Flesh & Blood.  His raspy voice didn’t hurt.  The good time rock isn’t gone either, though there’s less of it.  “Ride Child Ride”, “Strike Up the Band” and “Seven Days Over You” are as fun as the old days, but with a richer more musical palette.  Poison also went heavier than ever before.  “Scream” and “Bring it Home” groove harder than anything before or after.  Perhaps this album should be disqualified from the list as it’s more a Kotzen record with Poison as his backing band?  Nope, it’s my list and this is #1.

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26 comments

  1. “Unskinny Bop” is the most egregious musical transgression ever committed by a rock group provided they weren’t collaborating with hip hop artists. I enjoyed some of their stuff because I never took them seriously, but “Unskinny Bop” ruined that for a long time. Funny, I actually think “Bad to be Good” is one of the best tracks on the second album, I always though “Tearing Down the Walls” and “Look But Don’t Touch” were way worse. “Fallen Angel” holds up as a pretty good song, probably the best on there.

    I watched that MuchMusic interview with Rikki Rockett, man I had no idea that LSD was supposed to tour with Poison. That would have been so killer, Stanley may be the most underrated front-man of all time with his dance moves and homeless attire. I had it on tape, but the CD of “The Silent Majority” is a holy grail disc for me, so if you see it up in Canada, I’d greatly appreciate it if you let me know the price. I listened to that album the night I graduated from high school, so it’s got a lot of memories attached to it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yeah, I agree with your list if you swap #2 and #3. Admittedly I haven’t heard any that aren’t in the top 4 except Swallow This Live, which is indeed bad.

      Is it just me or does “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” sound similar to “Holy Lamb (Song for Harmonic Convergence” by Yes? Just the chords. Change the arrangement and the words and Poison could have had a hit prog rock ballad.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. OK! So let me explain to the other readers about that Rikki Rockett interview!

      Holen probably subscribes to me on Youtube. Anybody on Youtube sees my videos as soon as they’re uploaded. Here, I schedule the posts usually for the following day. So you WILL see the Rikki interview he is talking about, later on today. I thought it would be nice to get it out there with this list.

      Regarding LSD, I have it. I’ll keep my eyes open. It took about 10 years of work for it to show up in my store.

      Like

  2. We are the same on our Top 5. The only difference is my 1 & 2 are flipped. On certain days, I would agree with you as I like them pretty equally. It depends on my mood at the time. I saw on Facebook where you had a discussion on Native Tongue, so glad you decided to do the whole list.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. so cool u like Poison and admit it. I was on board with the 1st one and then mostly forgot about them but for some reason got Crack a smile and really liked it. Think I have all of the albums but have mainly just played the first one, flesh and blood and crack a smile a lot.

    Liked by 1 person

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