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I must admit that I had super high expectations for Poison’s CD release “Hollyweird,” and not only has the disc exceeded my expectations and cynicism, it blew me away. The Glam Slam Kings of Noize have cracked it wide open with their ninth record release. “Hollyweird,” the themed driven CD offers several takes and viewpoints on living life in Hollywood. This record is the same brand of in your face, high-energy kick ass rock music the boys have relied on since the good ole days of “Looked What the Cat Dragged In.” Poison once again captures C.C. Deville’s cutting guitar riffs; Bret Michaels strong refined vocals, Bobby Dall’s thumping bass, and the drum master stylings of Rikki Rockett. These boys still have it ALL going on.
“Hollyweird,” the title track inducts listeners into the wild and sometimes disappointing side of Hollywood. The song kicks-starts the record with a sheering guitar intro and doesn’t let up. Bret welcomes you to his world, Hollywood, with its up and downs. The record transitions into a Poisionized version of The Who’s classic “Squeeze Box” currently being featured on rock radio as the first single from the album.
“Shooting Star,” “Wishful Thinkin’” “Get ‘Ya Some,” would all fit what the moguls of Hollywood movies would call a bio-pic. Bret sings about the all too common situation of the small time girl coming to Hollywood to make it as a starlet only to have her dreams dashed. “Wishful Thinkin’” is reminiscent of “Fallen Angel” lyrically, and musically it sounds similar to the previous tune. These songs all provide a mini-movie soundtrack with the same theme, and some include a variation of the male wanna-be rock star dilemma.
“Emperor’s New Clothes,” is a departure for Poison as C.C. comes to the helm on vocals. C.C. does double duty on vocals and lead guitar. He contributes crunchy, punky, distorted guitar and lively vocals. DeVille demonstrates his guitar finesse. Rock journalists’ take note DeVille is definitely one of the most underrated guitar players and needs his due. “Livin’ In The Now,” C.C.’s punk inspired, driving drum beat and very catchy 12 Step jargon lyrics entertains.
“Devil Women,” “Wasteland,” and “Stupid, Stoned & Dumb,” follow the same successful formula of their own brand of rock ‘n’ roll. “Devil Women,” sounds the closest to “Nothing’ But a Good Time,” track of 1988, but slowed down. Musically, these songs sound very reminiscent songs of the past. Again, the same topic about life in Hollywood dominates. Nothing-risky here. Just tracks reliant of past successors.
“Home,” (Bret’s version) the “Talk Dirty to Me,” riff accompanies Michaels humorous and comical take on life at the Rainbow Bar and Grill in Hollywood; his home away from home. “Home,” (C.C.’s version) same exact song, but different lyrics about his longing and familiarity waiting to be home in Hollywood.
Poison has the ability to capture their live, electrifying, upbeat positive enthusiastic outlook on life on their albums. Like KISS their rock predecessors, they just keep it simple. Perhaps that’s been their key to longevity now going strong on for seventeen years. Many rock critics condemned them, but finally, the Poison guys are having the last laugh.
“Hollyweird,” for the long time fan and the new initiate is mind-blowing. The boys seem stripped down and secure with their place in the Hollywood, and in the Rock Star scheme of things. Musically, it rocks and summons up all the excitement that has made them headliners for years. They appear in control of their lives and having “Nothin’ but a Good Time,” at the expense of Hollywood clichés. Check it out.