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Bon Jovi – Slippery When Wet

Bon Jovi – Slippery When Wet (1986, Mercury Records)

1. “Let It Rock” … 5:25
2. “You Give Love a Bad Name” … 3:44
3. “Livin’ on a Prayer” … 4:09
4. “Social Disease” … 4:18
5. “Wanted Dead or Alive” … 5:08
6. “Raise Your Hands” … 4:16
7. “Without Love” … 3:30
8. “I’d Die for You” … 4:30
9. “Never Say Goodbye” … 4:48
10. “Wild in the Streets” … 3:54

Band:
Jon Bon Jovi – Lead Vocals, Guitar
Richie Sambora – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Alec John Such – Bass, Backing Vocals
Tico Torres – Drums
David Bryan – Keyboards, Backing Vocals

Producer: Bruce Fairbairn

Hard to believe I haven’t spoken about this ’80s classic yet! In fact, this is one of the best rock albums of all time, in my opinion. Alongside other multi-platinum ’80s hard rock monsters like Back In Black, Pyromania and Appetite for Destruction, Slippery When Wet was a game changer and has continued to influence bands up until today.

When I first got into the CD game, this was one of the first CDs I owned because Bon Jovi was one of the first bands I got into when I actually started taking an interest in music (Guns ‘N Roses & Poison were my other early faves as a teenager). Still, I have remembrances of this album when I was a kid. This was an album that you would’ve had to have been deaf to avoid in ’86/’87. MTV, radio, skating rinks, school dances, my sister’s stereo… It was all over the place!

Some of the songs have aged worse than others because of the keyboards (“Without Love”, “I’d Die For You”) but I still say every track is a classic and they’ll all have you singing along in no time. Virtually any song here could’ve been a hit if it went to radio. Slippery When Wet is to Bon Jovi what Hysteria is to Def Leppard and the 12x platinum sales in the U.S. alone prove it.

The funny thing is, it’s been said that had this album not been successful, the story goes Bon Jovi was more than likely going to be dropped by the record label because the last two albums weren’t big hits (only the self-titled debut made a ripple) and this was basically their last chance. The label told the label to work with Desmond Child as a co-writer and gave them solid but then-unknown producer Bruce Fairbairn (with engineering by a young Bob Rock) and the rest is history…

Timeless and yet still a sign of the times (this album always makes me think of the typical ’80s mall) Slippery When Wet is a pop-metal masterpiece (yes, Jon, you were once a pop-metal band) that I’ll always keep coming back to. Essential listening for ’80s rock fans.

Highlights: Um… All of them.

http://www.bonjovi.com/
http://www.facebook.com/BonJovi

Buy ‘Slippery When Wet’ on Amazon.com

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BON JOVI – Have a Nice Day

Bon Jovi – Have a Nice Day (2005, Island Records)

1. “Have a Nice Day” … 3:49
2. “I Want to Be Loved” … 3:49
3. “Welcome to Wherever You Are” … 3:47
4. “Who Says You Can’t Go Home” … 4:40
5. “Last Man Standing” … 4:37
6. “Bells of Freedom” … 4:55
7. “Wildflower” … 4:13
8. “Last Cigarette” … 3:38
9. “I Am” … 3:53
10. “Complicated” … 3:37
11. “Novocaine” … 4:49
12. “Story of My Life” … 4:08
13. “Who Says You Can’t Go Home” [Duet Version] … 3:50

Band:
Jon Bon Jovi – Lead Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Backing Vocals
Richie Sambora – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Tico Torres – Drums, Percussion
David Bryan – Piano, Keyboards, Backing Vocals

Additional Musicians:
Hugh McDonald – Bass, Backing Vocals
Jennifer Nettles – Lead Vocals (“Who Says You Can’t Go Home” [Duet Version])
Dan Huff – Bouzouki, Mandolin
Johathan Yudkin – Fiddle, Mandolin
Dan Dugmore – Steel Guitar

Produced by: Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora, John Shanks, Dan Huff, Rick Parashar

I absolutely did NOT like this album when it was released and it quickly was thrown in with the rest of my collection and forgotten. There’s a few songs on here I like, but this album is Bon Jovi’s full-blown descent into mediocrity, soccer mom rock and the land of no hooks. The signs were starting to show on Bounce that the band was becoming content to just be bland, but it’s even more apparent here.

Unfortunately, the album spawned the big crossover hit “Who Says You Can’t Go Home” featuring country music group Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettles. Whether you’re listening to the duet version or not, they’re both pretty country sounding and neither one is good. Sure, if this song was a blip on the Bon Jovi radar, that’s one thing, but I said it was an unfortunate hit because it “inspired” (meaning Jon & Richie saw dollar signs) the band to follow up this album with the Nashville-flavored Lost Highway.

“Last Man Standing” is probably the closest song resembling the band’s harder rocking heyday and a version of it was included on the band’s 100,000,000 Bon Jovi Fans Can’t Be Wrong box set. The song was originally meant to be included as one of two new songs on the band’s This Left Feels Right acoustic album where they covered some of their own greatest hits.

Even long time collaborator Desmond Child could help this album much. He co-wrote “Bells of Freedom” with Jon & Richie (and was executive producer of the album) but the magic just wasn’t there this time.

Highlights: “Have a Nice Day”, “I Want to Be Loved”, “Last Man Standing”, “Complicated”

www.bonjovi.com
www.myspace.com/bonjovi

ALICE COOPER – Hey Stoopid

Alice Cooper – Hey Stoopid (1991, Epic Records)

1. “Hey Stoopid” … 4:34
2. “Love’s a Loaded Gun” … 4:12
3. “Snakebite” … 4:33
4. “Burning Our Bed” … 4:35
5. “Dangerous Tonight” … 4:41
6. “Might as Well Be on Mars” … 7:10
7. “Feed My Frankenstein” … 4:44
8. “Hurricane Years” … 3:58
9. “Little by Little” … 4:34
10. “Die for You” … 4:17
11. “Dirty Dreams” … 3:30
12. “Wind-Up Toy” … 5:27

Band:
Alice Cooper – Vocals, Harmonica
Mickey Curry – Drums
Stef Burns – Guitar
Hugh McDonald – Bass
Derek Sherinian – Keyboards

Additional Musicians:
Ozzy Osbourne – Backing Vocals
Slash – Guitar
Joe Satriani – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Steve Vai – Guitar
Mick Mars – Guitar
Vinnie Moore – Guitar
Nikki Sixx – Bass

Produced by: Peter Collins

Though many people have derided Alice’s pop metal years, I absolutely love them. Trash and this album are two of my favorite Alice albums.

Though the guiding hands of Jon Bon Jovi & Trash producer Desmond Child may be gone (Desmond did co-write “Dangerous Tonight” and “Might as Well Be on Mars” though), Alice, with his team of co-writers, manages to deliver another slick pop metal gem. There’s also another impressive lineup of guest musicians as well.

This album didn’t sell nearly as well as Trash did and didn’t have a big hit like “Poison” was, and that’s a real shame because this album might even be better than Trash. 1991 was getting to be a rough time to sell commercial metal though…

Highlights: “Hey Stoopid”, “Love’s a Loaded Gun”, “Burning Our Bed”, “Might as Well Be on Mars”, “Feed My Frankenstein”, “Little by Little”, “Die For You”

RATT – Detonator

Ratt – Detonator (1990, Atlantic Records)

1. “Intro to Shame”  … 0:57
2. “Shame, Shame, Shame” … 4:32
3. “Lovin’ You’s a Dirty Job” … 3:15
4. “Scratch That Itch” … 3:17
5. “One Step Away” … 4:50
6. “Hard Time” … 3:47
7. “Heads I Win, Tails You Lose” … 3:59
8. “All or Nothing” … 4:15
9. “Can’t Wait on Love” … 4:04
10. “Givin’ Yourself Away” … 5:27
11. “Top Secret” … 3:50

Band:
Stephen Pearcy – Vocals
Warren DeMartini – Guitar
Robbin Crosby – Guitar
Juan Croucier – Bass
Bobby Blotzer – Drums

Additional Musicians:
Jon Bon Jovi – Backing Vocals
Desmond Child – Backing Vocals

Produced by: Desmond Child

Ah, now this is more like it! This would be the final album from the glory days of Ratt and it definitely delivered a more Rattier sound than what Reach for the Sky did, but truthfully, this is still a slick album, “Givin’ Yourself Away” is Exhibit A of that. The band traded one slick producer for another by parting ways with Beau Hill and hooking up with Desmond Child, who also co-wrote ever song with the band and even brought along Jon Bon Jovi for backing vocals.

Still, songs like “Shame Shame Shame and “Lovin’ You’s a Dirty Job’ are classic Ratt and this is definitely a must-have release for Ratt fans. Unfortunately, the album didn’t sell as well as their previous releases, “only” going Gold.

This album was the end of an era due to internal band conflicts and a change in the musical climate.

Highlights: “Shame Shame Shame”, “Lovin’ You’s a Dirty Job”, “One Step Away”, “All or Nothing”, “Can’t Wait on Love”, “Givin’ Yourself Away”

www.therattpack.com
www.myspace.com/therattpack

SCORPIONS – Humanity: Hour I


Scorpions – Humanity: Hour I (2007, Sony BMG Music)

Track Listing:
1. “Hour 1” .. 3:26
2. “The Game of Life” … 4:04
3. “We Were Born to Fly” … 3:59
4. “The Future Never Dies” … 4:03
5. “You’re Lovin’ Me to Death ” … 3:15
6. “321” … 3:53
7. “Love Will Keep Us Alive” … 4:32
8. “We Will Rise Again” … 3:49
9. “Your Last Song” … 3:44
10. “Love Is War” … 3:20
11. “The Cross” … 4:29
12. “Humanity” … 5:34
BONUS TRACK
13. “Cold” … 3:52

Band:
Klaus Meine: Vocals
Matthias Jabs: Lead and Rhythm Guitar
Rudolf Schenker: Rhythm and Lead Guitar
Paweł Mąciwoda: Bass
James Kottak: Drums

Additional Musicians:
Billy Corgan – Vocals (“The Cross”)
John 5 – Guitar (“Hour I”)
Eric Bazilian – Guitar (“Love Will Keep Us Alive”)
Russ Irwin – Piano (“The Future Never Dies”)
Desmond Child – Backing Vocals
James Michael – Backing Vocals
Jeanette Olsson – Backing Vocals
Jason Paige – Backing Vocals

Produced by: Desmond Child & James Michael

This was my favorite release of 2007. Scorpions are one of my favorite bands, and after 2004’s awesome Unbreakable, I was pumped up for this one. Then I heard the samples online. It’s a bit of a departure from the typical Scorpions sound. A lot of the songs are slow (well, slower than what I was expecting) and plodding, but ended up growing on me.

Unbreakable brought the band’s sound back to their glorious 80s heyday, but Humanity: Hour 1 gives the band a bit of a modern hard rock/metal sound. It’s still Scorpions though. Yeah, the songs are a little darker and lyric matter is different (no more sex songs, says Klaus Meine!), but Klaus doesn’t try to change his singing to fit with the times and songs like “The Game of Life”, “We Were Born to Fly”, You’re Lovin’ Me to Death” and “321” should make most Scorpions fans happy.

This album got pretty good reviews, but I’ve seen a lot of Scorpions fan tear it down because of the band’s attempt to get more serious and grow. I don’t have a problem with the “serious” Scorpions or the silly perverted version. I applaud them for going in a different direction and for making it work.

I waited for MONTHS to get this CD. I’m not an import kinda guy and any album is readily available online for free if you know where to look, but I liked to support bands I’m a fan of so I waited. And waited. And waited. I couldn’t really get a confirmed US release, because I think it was initially May/June, but that turned out to only be the Europe release. FINALLY, the US got it at the end of August and I picked it up at Best Buy. The Best Buy exclusive track, “Cold”, is actually one of my favorites from the album.

The credits are pretty impressive. It’s good to see Desmond Child co-writing/producing this album. I’ve always been a fan of his hard rock collaborations. Also, co-producing (with the occasional writing credit) is SIXX:AM vocalist James Michael (who I’m starting to have a lot of respect for with his legit rock credentials). John 5 and Billy Corgan even lended their talents to this album.

Highlights: It’s not my top pick of 2007 for no reason at all. I can’t find any filler here.

www.the-scorpions.com
www.myspace.com/officialscorpions

ALICE COOPER – Trash

Alice Cooper – Trash (1989, Epic Records)

Track Listing:
1. “Poison” … 4:30
2. “Spark in the Dark” .. 3:52
3. “House of Fire” … 3:47
4. “Why Trust You” … 3:12
5. “Only My Heart Talkin'” … 4:46
6. “Bed of Nails” … 4:20
7. “This Maniac’s in Love With You” … 3:48
8. “Trash” … 4:02
9. “Hell Is Living Without You” … 4:11
10. “I’m Your Gun” … 3:49

Band:
Alice Cooper – Vocals

And then an absolute bevy of session musicians and special guests including (but not limited to):
Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora and former Cooper bandmates Kip Winger and Kane Roberts.

Produced by: Desmond Child

A lot of metal fans don’t care for producer Desmond Child. Any album he produces and writes on has a slick pop-metal style, but I personally have no problem with that. In fact, pop-metal is one my favorite genres of rock. Desmond has done some great work with bands like KISS, Bon Jovi (Slippery When Wet, anyone?), Vince Neil, Scorpions, Ratt and Aerosmith. So a Desmond Child-Alice Cooper effort makes for another great Desmond-helmed album in my opinion and “Poison” is my favorite Alice Cooper song. I’m almost in a trance whenever I hear it.

I don’t find a pop-metal album by Alice to feel out of place in his catalog at all. Most of the 80s hard rockers owed a little bit to Alice anyway as I’ve always considered the Coop and KISS to be the Godfathers of Shock Rock while those two groups plus Van Halen are the Godfathers of Hair Metal, IMO.

This easily is my favorite Alice album and I remember playing this album most of my junior year in high school, skipping lunch and sitting in my next class’ room waiting for it to begin. I’m sure most people would argue his early-mid 70s is his best, and while I enjoy certain tracks from those albums, they’re hard for me to digest as whole. There’s just some weird stuff there and garage rock isn’t really my style.

“Trash” is a fun tune sung with Jon Bon Jovi and sees Alice Cooper & Jon going totally hair metal on us with the innuendos (“If my love was like a lollipop, would you lick it?”). Steven Tyler shares vocal duties on the ballad “Only My Heart Talkin'”. It’s just a fun record, loaded with guest stars, and his next album, Hey Stoopid, makes for a great companion piece because it continued the sound heard here.

Highlights: “Poison”, “Spark in the Dark”, “Why Trust You”, “Only My Heart Talkin'”, “Bed of Nails”, “Trash”, “Hell Is Living Without You”, “I’m Your Gun”

www.alicecooper.com
www.myspace.com/officialalicecooper

SHOCKER – The Music: A Shocking Sampler

Shocker – No More Mr. Nice Guy – The Music: A Shocking Sampler (1989, SBK/Alive/Capitol Records)

Track Listing:
1. “No More Mr. Nice Guy” * – Megadeth – 3:02
2. “Sword and Stone” * – Bonfire – 3:57
3. “Demon Bell” ** – Dangerous Toys – 3:56
4. “Love Tranfusion” – Iggy Pop – 4:22
5. “Shocker” * – Dudes of Wrath – 3:58

Produced by: Desmond Child * & Max Norman **

So years ago, while on a big slasher movie kick, one night I took home Wes Craven’s Shocker from the video store I worked at. The idea of the movie was (I think) to create the next horror icon. Well, that didn’t happen because the movie isn’t very good, but it did produce an awesome rock soundtrack, so off on an online hunt for the Original Soundtrack to Shocker I was.

Unfortunately, I won’t be talking about the “Original Soundtrack”, instead all I have to offer is “A Shocking Sampler” because I got screwed over on my very first eBay transaction years ago. The seller listed the soundtrack and gave details on the each track and the artist, but when the CD arrived, all I had in my hands was a soundtrack sampler. All attempts to get my money back or to have the seller send me what he actually listed failed. And to top it off, the CD was scratched and skipped/stopped on almost all of the 5 songs.

As far as a “sampler” goes, this is a great CD. The whole soundtrack is good, but for me, there are six standout cuts and 5 of them are here. The missing link would be Saraya’s “Timeless Love”. Oh well, maybe I’ll someday get my hands on the full soundtrack.

Anyway, this great mix of metal and hair metal. Megadeth does a great version of Alice Cooper’s “No More Mr. Nice Guy” and “Shocker” is definitely my favorite song by the mysterious band called the Dudes of Wrath.

What was up with these secretive supergroups anyway in the 80s? First, Skrapp Mettle and now Dudes of Wrath. The Dudes of Wrath were Paul Stanley (quite obvious on the vocals), along with Desmond Child and rounding out the group were Tommy Lee, Vivian Campbell, Rudy Sarzo and some dude called Guy Man-Dude (!). If Wikipedia is to be believed, Alice Cooper, Michael Anthony, and Kane Roberts provided backing vocals for the song.

Oh, by the way, thanks to my video store connections, I was able to use our buffing machine to get the scratches out (took four or five tries) and the CD plays perfect now.

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