Poison / Poison'd / CD Review

Capitol / EMI

Just what the world needed; a covers album from another 80’s hair metal band. Covers albums always seem like a last gasp cash grab from a washed up band’s remaining hard core fan base. In one way, that’s a good way to describe this disc. Instead of releasing an album of new material, the guys in Poison decide to quickly throw together a covers disc just in time for their annual summer tour. The good thing about Poison, is that they’ve never really cared about artistry. They simply want to have a good time and party, and that’s just what this album is: a party.

The songs on this disc all bear the unmistakable Poison sound without losing the feel of the original versions. Tracks like Tom Petty’s “I Need to Know” and the Cars’ “Just What I Needed” are catchy rockers that’ll have the band’s aging fan base dancing in the aisles. The highlight here is a nice country-ish version of Alice Cooper’s “I Never Cry.” The simple steel guitar really adds to the melencholy feel of the 1976 track. In fact, the acoustic numbers (including “I Never Cry” and the Marshal Tucker Band’s “Can’t You See”) are among the strongest songs and sound most like Poison’s own ballads. Hearing Bret Michael’s fake southern accent covering Mick Jagger’s fake southern accent on “Dead Flowers” is hilariously entertaining.

There are some cringeworthy moments on this album though. The band’s cover of KISS’ “Rock ‘n Roll All Night” shouldn’t have ever been commited to tape. It doesn’t matter if the recording is 20 years old, the sloppyness and the way “everyday” is enunciated is terrible. Lyrically, Grand Funk Railroad’s “We’re and American Band” fits the band’s personality great. However, I’ve never cared for the production on this particular track when it was released on their last greatest hits disc.

That’s the major complaint of this disc. Why is 38% of the album re-released material? Who is this marketed to? The hardcore fans already have them and are feeling a little ripped off that they’re paying full price for 8 songs. Non fans looking to get an introduction will likely pick up one of the numerous greatest hits album instead of a covers album.

Overall, it’s a nice collection with some quality playing that should hold the band’s fans over until the next album of new material. Whether this is a cash grab or testing the waters for a new studio album, it doesn’t matter. Just like everything else Poison, just sit back, grab a beer and enjoy the party.