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Twisted Sister – Stay Hungry

Yes, this is getting away from the gratitude series I’ve been building, but after hearing You Can’t Stop Rock ‘N’ Roll this week, I had to rock this one too…

I bought this absolute classic album on CD (c’mon, admit it, it is a classic) in Toronto last fall, on my most recent (annual) record shopping excursion with Mike. Wow, that was a busy sentence… Anyway, I know that I have my old cassette of it somewhere here in the house, too…

Summing up this record is going to be difficult. It’s one of THOSE albums, such a part of your childhood and formative years, encoded right into your DNA and inseparable from countless memories of that time. While it is true that Dee hasn’t always been the world’s greatest lyricist (though he’s not the worst either), the in-your-face personal manifesto style of his writing still has great appeal to me. 

In the comments for my recent review of You Can’t Stop Rock ‘N’ Roll, which is an absolute monster of a record that blew me backwards, Deke mentioned he thought that Stay Hungry sounded like it was recorded in his bathroom. I don’t know how big Deke’s bathroom is, but I didn’t suffer any noticeable sound issues when I went through this album. Then again, maybe I was just too busy rocking out…

The title track brings the rock, right out of the gate. This is a very motivational track, along the lines of Dio’s Stand Up And Shout. Cool! More on Dio in a minute.

We’re Not Gonna Take It. That is all.

Burn In Hell… man, here’s a funny story about this track. On my way home from that trip to Toronto with Mike, I was rocking this album in the car stereo. I was blasting through Mennonite country when this song came on, which seemed very appropriate… Man, I was laughing so hard that I had to pull over and text Mike about it. I know, I’m a geek! Still, this track is a great one, a real fist-pumper with a yummy riff and excellent solos. I especially noticed the drum work on this one, a superb job.

Horror-teria is an odd track title, but fair play to him… A) Captain Howdy is a cool rock chugger of a tune, but I have to admit that that name is not very menacing, is it… ‘Oh no, look out for CAPTAIN HOWDY!! He’s gonna try to… give us flowers (or make us play with cute puppies) again!’ Umm… And then, at 3:45 we have B) Street Justice, which is a solid power chord rawk track. I’m not certain how these two tracks are supposed to go together, but I may just be obtuse and/or not paying very close attention to the lyrics.

I Wanna Rock. That is all.

The Price is pure power ballad. Generally speaking, I dislike these sorts of things for the obvious give-the-band-a-chance-to-rest fripperies that they are, but this one is different. Actually, I would call this one yet another album highlight track, on an album chock full of them. I don’t know if anyone else hears it, but I really think he is channelling his inner Dio on this one. The vocal approach, the lyrics… I’d say so.

Don’t Let Me Down ramps the pace right back up again, as always happens on rock albums. Right after the slower song, you’ve gotta remind the fans we’re here to rock… And here we’re truly back at full throttle, woohoo! This totally sounds like it should be on an 80s movie soundtrack… from a film that has something to do with fighter jets flying fast and solving problems… probably starring Louis Gossett, Jr… Am I dreaming of Iron Eagle? Haha I think so. 

The Beast chugs along nicely, and is another total Dio track. I’m definitely picking up that vibe from some of these songs, and it’s a fine thing indeed. Cool tune. And finally, S.M.F. is a solid rocker, holy man. Maybe not on par with the monster hits here, but a worthy inclusion.

In sum, this record defines a big part of my life. I heard songs from it everywhere I went and, while I was the jazz kid, this record somehow snuck under the defenses and adhered itsef to my brain. There are a few absolutely huge tracks here, hits so big that you can’t even see the top of them. And the other tracks hold their own, for the most part. If you read Dee’s book, Shut Up And Give Me The Mic, you learn that these songs are basically his life put into song form, in one way or another. He’s like the Alanis Morissette of 80s rawk, or something haha… It’s a relatively short album, at 9 songs, but those 9 are fairly densely-packed with riffs and hard work and sweat and pure rawk goodness.

Two metal horns all the way up, for this classic platter. \m/  \m/

And if you Wanna Rock to an actually-intelligent take on this album, go read Mike’s review of it right here.

Twisted Sister – You Can’t Stop Rock ‘N’ Roll

Our brother Mike Lebrain, He Of Incredible Rawk Knowledge gave me this CD. I’ve been excited to get to this review, as I expect this album to be a sweaty rock out extravaganza. Let’s find out!

The Kids Are Back is a bottom-heavy solid rock song chugger, a perfect album opener in the classic mode. Like A Knife In The Back stomps along nicely, another blast of heavy barroom rawk. I love the interplay between the drawn out “I neeeed this” and then the seemingly all-one-word “likeaknifeintheback.” Haha fun. Damn this band is tight. I read Dee’s book (Shut Up And Give me The Mic) and I know how hard he says they worked. This sound is earned.

Ride To Live, Live To Ride picks up the pace, a wise move. I love how busy the bottom end is during the chorus. I bet that lots of bikers loved this track. Talk about song-writing from the How To Appeal To Your Leather-Clad Audience textbook! Next up is I Am (I’m Me), a cool manifesto of a song. It’s definitely a precursor to the attitude of We’re Not Gonna Take It. Probably a fun sing-along in a live setting.

The Power And The Glory starts out with a bass-heavy throb (man, the bass is hitting me fully on every track on this record!). Then it crashes into a really bluesy monster. You just can’t help but nod your head in time to this one. And then, eventually, the song takes off at full gallop. Wooo! This is definitely a highlight track, for me. 

We’re Gonna Make It (but We’re Not Gonna Take It? haha) is yet another hard-hitting rocker. Holy hell this album is relentless. Also, the song title here is a nice self-fulfilling prophecy. I’ve Had Enough is a decent fuck you song, which is very melodic. Man, the bass is still front and center. Loving it. I’ll Take you Alive is another blaster. I’m getting wrung out by this damn album. The energy in every track is unreal. Woohooo! Liked the drum ending here, too.

You’re Not Alone (Suzette’s Song) is the first slower/ballad-type track, and it’s next to last on the album! I knew this song was going to be sappy, having read his book. He really does love that lady, and it’s great to see. Power to them. That said, I’m not sure I’ll need to play this track often, though it’s a nice sentiment and all. It’s a good addition to the record which, up until now, seemed bent on running me ragged.

And finally, we have the title track, which cranks things back up, one last chance go nuts before we reach the end of the record. And (no surprises) it’s a great rock tune.

In sum, I just have one question: where the hell has this record been my whole life? Why did I not own this ages ago? This is one of the best albums I’ve heard in a long while, and if you’ve been following along on this site, you’ll know that I’ve heard a lot of great music over the past however long. Holy hell, this record was freakin’ awesome.

Thanks heaps, Mike!

Twisted Sister – Love Is For Suckers

It’s Friday night, the kids are in bed, and I’ve had quite a bit of wine! With the week we’ve had, especially winter weather-wise, this is release! Anyway, last week, I had some drinks and did the same thing, and I wrote about Quiet Riot’s III album after Mike had panned it. Some of you enjoyed my inebriated ramblings, so, um, you’re welcome?

Now, I don’t wanna say this is gonna be a series because it likely isn’t. But I’ve had some wine (and then some more) and this time it’s gonna be Twisted Sister’s Love Is For Suckers. This is by request of Mike, who gave it 2.5/5 on his most excellent site that you should all be reading and if you don’t then you’re grossbuckets.

An aside before I begin: I only know from reading Mike’s site that this was supposed to be a Dee Snider solo record, but the label were (typically) jerks and made it a Twisted record. That sucks, for Dee (and Twisted, of course).

So. Here we go.

Wake Up The Sleeping Giant isn’t so bad. It’s a rock song at heart, even if the lyrics are pretty bad. Already it’s better than all of QR III. Hot Love is totally indicative of the era… meaning, of course, that there was a market for this sort of shitty middle-of-the-road rock pap. I think it had to do with all the big hair. Honestly, I think it impaired judgement. Must’ve been the weight of all that mousse, or something. Oh it’s not a BAD song. If it had been done very differently it might have worked. Wait, that makes it sort of bad, doesn’t it… Oh g-d I’m trying to think clearly after this much wine… Gah. It never works.

The title track rocks pretty hard. I like the backing tracks, the tune stands up (real drums or not). Except, I would completely re-write the lyrics.  I would especially have cut that Big Bopper-esque thing in the middle (Diamond Dave has done it too). Intended innuendo aside, that was pretty bad. I’m So Hot For You made me nervous by title alone. However, it’s another case of cool enough riff and bad lyrics. It’s been a long time since I played Stay Hungry, but I don’t remember Snider taking the easy way out with his rhymes quite this blatantly. Maybe he did, I dunno. I’m no expert.

Tonight starts out sounding epic and then ramps up the pace. This isn’t a bad tune. Could’ve been Twisted, if it had been more menacing. I’d have been disappointed if Me And The Boys didn’t rhyme, at some point, with ‘making a noise.’ This song delivers, however. Which saddens me, somehow. Of course it does. It’s another rocker, of it’s time. Not bad, not great. One Bad Habit is another track that has decent music and suffers its lyrics. Maybe this is why the album got such a bad score at Mike’s. Maybe Dee ran out of things to say. His one bad habit is that he like to rock and roll? Um, Dude… It’s your fuckin’ job. NONE of us are surprised, over here. Why, at this stage in your career, could you possibly feel the need to apologize for what you do? Weird.

I Want This Night To Last Forever is another title that terrified me. I do not want this night to last forever. I don’t have enough wine to get me through forever, especially not if I’ve gotta listen to THIS forever. And the song itself is tepid at best. This is the first track I’ve heard, here, that I would have skipped from the get-go. The others, with some work, might’ve been alright. This one? No. Next! You’re All I Need is another one to skip. It’s a nice sentiment, but a shitty, shitty song. And again, not that I could do better. I’m half in the bag and sitting in front of my iMac at midnight babbling about this shit because about three people on the internet think it’s funny. But I can guarantee that if I were sober, I would say the same about these last two tracks. Maybe worse. I dunno until I get some sleep.

And finally it’s Yeah Right, which wants to go out on a rock note by ripping off, um… what is that. Bo Diddley? Chuck Berry? My brain, addled as it is by the grape, wants to grasp the influence but isn’t quite getting there. Listen to the track , you’ll get it straight away, surely. This could have been a Twisted track. But again, not bad, not great.

Well then.

You know, I have a hard time giving this a 2.5, Mike. It’s a solid 3, maybe a bit more. Put the good headphones on and just listen to the music, not the lyrics, and remeber the context of when it was made. Given all that, it could’ve been what what was needed. Something just didn’t click. Perhaps the disappointment here lies in that fact that this sure isn’t Stay Hungry or You Can’t Stop Rock And Roll. Far from it. Whatever it is, it’s miles ahead of that fuckin’ QR III.

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