Poison
Open Up and Say... Ahh!


4.0
excellent

Review

by Pedro B. USER (303 Reviews)
July 7th, 2010 | 34 replies


Release Date: 1988 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A solid hard rock album, which actually manages to improve on its predecessor and deserves its status as a genre classic.

When the common person thinks of the 80’s, a couple of things immediately come to mind. The decade’s outrageous sense of fashion will probably pop into their head first, but a close second will certainly be equally outlandish music. For those not familiar with the rise of underground metal during this decade, said music will basically boil down to god-awful radio synth-pop, AOR, and what passed for “heavy” music those days, glam rock. And associated to glam rock will inevitably be the names of bands such as Bon Jovi, Whitesnake, Def Leppard and Poison.

Debuting in the early 80’s as Paris, Poison would become one of the most ridiculed “major” bands of the glam-rock movement. A lot of this bile was generated by their radio-hit ballad Every Rose Has Its Thorn, as well as by the posthumous antics of frontman Bret Michaels. However, these claims to infamy sadly shadowed what was, in fact, a pretty rockin’ band. Both their first album, 1986’s Look What The Cat Dragged In, and its follow-up, 1988’s Open Up And Say…Aah! are valid, if not particularly intellectual, entries into the hard rock genre. And where the former showed a boisterous, abrasive young band letting their punk influences show, the latter was much more polished and radio-friendly, effectively representing the first step in the band’s maturation process.

With no formation changes from the previous album, Poison were able to concentrate on creating the best choruses they could possibly craft. Thus, nearly every song on Open Up and Say…Aah! comes graced with an instantly catchy and appealing hook, usually backed up by strong hard rock riffs. Bret Michaels’ lyrics – the low point of the previous album – also suffered a huge improvement, now making space for a bridge or a similar section destined to wrap up the frontman’s little stories. And while most of these still deal with juvenile sex exploits, Michaels even branched out to include a few Cinderellaesque stories about the woes of the working man (Nothin’ But A Good Time, Back To The Rockin’ Horse) or life on the mean streets (Bad To Be Good). Even the sexual themes are better realized this time around, going from the amusing failed-attempt narrative of Look But You Can’t Touch to the separation blues of Every Rose Has Its Thorn and the nymphomaniac fantasies of Good Love.

Unfortunately, while the lyrics definitely represent a step up, the musicianship went the other way, being much more basic than on the previous record. Guitarist C. C. DeVille still gets a few blistering solos in edgewise, but his riffs are generally less interesting, sometimes sounding very similar to each other and even interchangeable with those of other bands (Tear Down The Walls). As for the rhythm section, while Rikki Rockett is still a powerhouse – and benefits from a huge drum sound in the production – bassist Bobby Dall is now frequently relegated to time-keeping duties, his bass lines much less prominent than on the 1986 songs. And while this simpler approach does work most of the time, one can’t help but wonder why the band chose to dumb down their sound like this, especially since there are some interesting forays into new genres, such as the harmonica-propelled country stomp of Good Love or the acoustically-driven power-ballad.

Fortunately, the mostly strong hooks help dissipate these doubts. While the filler here is even less interesting than on Look What The Cat Dragged In, there is also much less of it, with only a couple of songs really falling under that banner. For the most part, this is a strong, if often dumb, collection of hard rock songs, with various degrees of effectiveness. At its best, like on Fallen Angel or during the obscure cover for Your Mama Don’t Dance, this is one of the best hard rock records you’re likely to hear; the rest of the time, it settles for being a fun ride, delivering a product that surpasses both its predecessor and the expectations of most people. At the end of the day, while the more attentive listener won’t be able to shake off some perceptible flaws, the common music lover will find Open Up And Say…Aah! to be a solid hard rock album, which actually manages to improve on its predecessor and deserves its status as a genre classic. Unfortunately, Poison’s career would only go downhill from here…

Recommended Tracks
Nothin’ But A Good Time
Fallen Angel
Every Rose Has Its Thorn
Your Mama Don’t Dance



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user ratings (98)
Chart.
3.2
good

Comments:Add a Comment 
BigHans
July 7th 2010


26454 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Pedro, I think this album was already in the database.

BigHans
July 7th 2010


26454 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I love the opening line of Love on the Rocks: "She goes down slowly like a shot of gin."

ReturnToRock
July 7th 2010


3448 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It was, but minus tracklist and artwork.

Oh well, on to the "maturation" phase...listening to Flesh & Blood right now.

BigHans
July 7th 2010


26454 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Flesh & Blood is their best IMO.

BigHans
July 7th 2010


26454 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Really?

I've never heard a person say that about Poison. I always hear the opposite, that they're barely even Hard Rock.

Willie
Moderator
July 7th 2010


15969 Comments


The first three albums have some good singles, but they all suffer from tons of filler.

Digging: Necropoli - I

BigHans
July 7th 2010


26454 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I almost wore out the tape of Flesh & Blood when I was 11.

BigHans
July 7th 2010


26454 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Cassette Tapes FTW

Ire
July 7th 2010


41779 Comments


Ugh, Poison suck so much.

KnuckleChowder
July 7th 2010


157 Comments


Y'know ReturnToRock, this is a well written review and all but after seeing your 3.5 Review of a Nick Carter record hit the front page I have a hard time taking it seriously. Pos'd anyways, though.

ReturnToRock
July 8th 2010


3448 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@Poison as heavy metal discussion: My mother listened to Look What The Cat Dragged In and when I told her it was hard rock, she said "really? Sounds more like pop to me".

@KnuckleChowder: Like I always say, I call them as I see them. Whenever I listen to a record, I put myself in the place of someone who might like it. Of COURSE Nick Carter is not my type of music, but FOR A POP FAN that would have been an above-average record. Hell, that Def Leppard copycat song alone was worth the fifty cents I saw it on sale for.

@Hans: I don't like F&B as much as the first two. It has a few REALLY good songs, but tons of filler towards the end.

Dryden
July 8th 2010


12928 Comments


poison album with a 4 rating what

Asiatic667
July 8th 2010


4648 Comments


Hopefully Brett is getting better

BigHans
May 26th 2011


26454 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I KNOW i COULDVE SAVED OUR LOVE THAT NIGHT IF I'D KNOWN WHAT TO SAY

STEAD OF MAKIN LOVE WE BOTH MADE OUR SEPERATE WAYS

- knowing how to play that on guitar got me laid once it was awesome

omnipanzer
May 26th 2011


21451 Comments


You are a very sentimental guy.

Ire
May 26th 2011


41779 Comments


soooo gayyyyy

BigHans
May 26th 2011


26454 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I would always change the words though.

AND NOW I, HEAR YA FUCKED SOMEBODY NEW

AND THAT I NEVER MEANT JACK SHIT TO YOU

TO HEAR THAT TEARS ME UP INSIDEEEEEEEEE

AND TO SEE YOU CUTS ME, LIKE A KNIFEE

I GUESS

GothicCatchyBallad
June 27th 2011


133 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Better than the first album...

BigHans
June 27th 2011


26454 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

slightly yes

alachlahol
June 27th 2011


7489 Comments


poison sucks and bret michaels looks like a girl



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