Open Up And Say... Ahh!


Capitol Records, 1988

REVIEW BY: Paul Hanson


Poison had a lot to live up to by the time they released Open Up And Say Ahh in 1988. Vocalist Bret Michaels, drummer Rikki Rockett, guitarist CC DeVille and bassist Bobby Dall had spent a lot of time touring in support of Look What The Cat Dragged In and had brought their party-hard mentality to the masses.

With the release of this sophomore disc, the buzz about this band was deafening. Fortunately, Poison delivered one of its best works, taking the party concept a step forward.  my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Opener "Love On The Rocks" reintroduces the band's party attitude with a more sophisticated song structure. DeVille's guitar riff allows the song to breathe with silence between the guitar riffs, unlike earlier efforts such as "Talk Dirty to Me," while "Nothin' But A Good Time" continues with what would become a typical Poison anthem. Michael's laughter prior to the first verse encourages the listener to get ready to roll.

"Back To The Rocking Horse" recovers from its dumb title and provides some well-done background harmonies. Michaels lyrics long for a "much simpler time / when nothing really mattered at all" is a familiar theme but it is delivered with sincerity. The pinnacle of this release is "Look But You Can't Touch," with a lower-tuned guitar and good riff accented by Rockett's drums in the beginning and his tom fills during the verse introductions.

The 2006 remasters do a good job of clearing up the sound but they also bring some of the problems to light. Yes, this is the disc that produced the terrible power ballad "Every Rose Has Its Thorn," which was just a way to get Poison's male audience laid. The lyrics are in the dictionary next to "What was wrong with '80s hair metal?," and the background vocals are as atrocious as they were 20 years ago. Skip it. "Your Mama Don't Dance" isn't much better on record but was great in concert, while the closing "Bad to Be Good" tries to set up the band as having a bluesy side to their sound but just reeks of an Aerosmith ripoff.

The previously unreleased track on the remaster, "Living For The Minute," is a welcome addition. A bonus feature includes a long interview about the making of the album, but the bonus song makes this one worth purchasing. Of course, Poison fans will get it anyway just to own every song the band has ever released. The rest will have to be content with one of the band's more solid efforts.

Rating: B+

User Rating: C



© 2007 Paul Hanson 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.