Open Up And Say... Ahh!

Poison

Capitol Records, 1988

REVIEW BY: Sean McCarthy

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 05/03/1998

Ahhh....How I would love to butcher this album. How I would like nothing more than give these guys the equivalent of the middle finger in reviews. But as I thumb through for another word for "suck ass", I stared at the heathen woman with the long tongue, nostalgia kicked in. How I wore this album out in the 8th and 9th grade.

A time when It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back and Daydream Nation were a bunch of funny album titles reserved for the "college section" of Rolling Stone. In essence, a time of innocence. Nintendo NES "Punch Out", Home Economics and the beginnings of "make out" parties. And, in a lot of ways, Open Up And Say ...Ahh!, captured this period perfectly.

Technically, the album is devoid of any soul. It was a marketed follow-up to the surprise success of my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Look What The Cat Dragged In. Each song was meant to be heard in the arenas. For the boys, there was the oogling chick songs, "Look But You Can't Touch" and "Love On The Rocks". For the chicks, a sentimental ballad to make these air brushed, primped male bimbos have a soul with "Every Rose Has its Thorn". And the fantasy that a scrawny 13-year-old could be a bad ass came true with "Bad To Be Good" and "Tearin' Down The Walls". Jesus, was there any heavy metal band out there that does NOT have fuckin' "Tearin Down The Walls" as the title to one of their songs? Soundgarden the exception.

If musical props were to be given for this album, I would have to award it to guitarist C.C. Deville. He knows how to construct a heavy metal riff. The rest, well, Bobby Dall (the bassist) and Rikki Rockett (drummer) lay down harmless downbeats. And lead singer Bret Michaels, a showman in his own right, must have had a picture or Elvis and David Lee Roth taped above where he slept on the tour bus.

You can't get mad with Open Up and Say ...Ahh!. The album came out at the height of the hair band craze of the late 80s. And even the hearless idie-head out there has to feel some pity that this band is on the edge of playing at your favorite tavern in a year or so from now.

The only thing that makes me pissed off is that some people still get misty eyed when Michaels says, "I raise a toast to all of us/Who are breaking their backs everyday", in "Nothin' But a Good Time" or the good girl loses it all story in "Fallen Angel". Poison was a good band for the moment, but only for that moment. Grow the hell up!

Though I would like to give this album an F, I just don't have the heart to do it. The execs went to the band and wanted a hit and were willing to pay them big for it. They took the money and produced the goods. Hell, Matchbox 20 and Bush do it today, just in a different musical format. Open Up and Say ...Ahh! also kept the masses distracted. Because of Poison, people could lay braging rights for seeing Sonic Youth and Husker Du at clubs while goobers like us were standing in line to see Poison open for David Lee Roth. And, like many people in their mid-20s, you can actually look back on this album as an innocent joke. How can you give a bad grade to an album that you heard during one of the coolest swim parties you've attended in your life?

 

Rating: C

User Rating: C


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© 1998 Sean McCarthy and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Capitol Records, and is used for informational purposes only.