Review Summary: Despite its flaws, The Best Of Poison – 20 Years of Rock still manages to assert itself as a worthy buy…as long as you don’t have Greatest Hits 1986-19962 of 2 thought this review was well written
When a band reaches the 20-year mark, there is little to do but praise them. Regardless of whether or not one enjoys that particular band, it’s always good to see someone give up a quarter of their life – and half of their life up to that point – in favor of the cause. Therefore, nobody objects too much when these bands choose to signal the occurrence through the release of a commemorative album, even if that album gives the listener practically nothing they haven’t heard before.
Case in point: Poison – 20 Years Of Rock
. After having released a ten-year anniversary Best Of – the commendable Greatest Hits 1986-1996
– the band chose to do likewise for their twentieth, once again dusting off the old hits and repackaging them for audiences both old and new. As an added bonus, they threw in a couple of songs from their “resurgence” albums and a pair of previously unreleased covers, effectively making this an update of the aforementioned release. But does it work as well as its predecessor? Almost.
Greatest Hits 1986-1996
was a nearly flawless compilation; the tracklist was balanced, the two new tracks, while irrelevant, were a nice addition, and the artwork and liner notes were detailed and evidently labored. 20 Years Of Rock
shares most of these characteristics, even bettering some of them – the songs are now presented chronologically, for example – but somehow still ends up dwarfed by its predecessor, if only because that was more relevant in its time than this is now. That does not mean, however, that this disc is not an excellent compilation – it will serve as a perfect entry point for a Curious George, while justifying its presence in the fans’ collections through the inclusion of the two inspired covers.
In fact, quite a few points are earned by these two tracks alone. Both are given lively, vital interpretations by the rejuvenated band, with Rock’n’Roll All Night
, in particular, showing a new side to Bret Michaels’ vocals, as the singer come eerily close to Paul Stanley’s register – not an easy feat, considering how different the two singers are. We’re An American Band
is a similarly abused track, yet the band make it work through a combination of energy and savoir faire
. Overall, these two tracks will not disappoint either old fans or newcomers.
The problem, then, is that besides the covers, this album has precious little else to offer in relation to Greatest Hits
. The tracklist is so similar that a Poison connoisseur barely even needs to listen to this album – all they’d have to do was run an eye over the setlist, pop in the couple of covers, and they’d be done. Apart from the couple of “new” tracks, what is present here differs very little from any other Poison Best Of. Half of Look What The Cat Dragged In
is here, as are all the usual suspects from Open Up And Say…Aah!
and Flesh And Blood
; the C.C.-less era is glossed over, with only Stand
making the ranks, but then again that was the only real hit from the period; and Poison’s second coming is covered through My Last Song
– admittedly the best choice from the drab Power To The People
– and Shooting Star
, which may not be the best selection from Hollyweird
, but is certainly not the worse. And while these tracks add very little to the overall package, it’s nice to see that they (sort of) hold their own against the old hits. Similarly, there are practically no omissions – the only tracks not on here that could be argued for are Good Love, So Tell Me Why
and Wishful Thinkin’
, and the inclusion of the former two in previous releases was a pleasant surprise rather than an expected inevitability.
However, even though the setlist repeats and improves the good parts of Greatest Hits
, somehow it doesn’t work as well. The chronological organization is a nice touch, but the placing of four ballads immediately next to each other causes an unnecessary – if innocuous – slowdown in the latter portions of the album. Similarly, the two modern-day tracks somehow feel like they shouldn’t be here, like nerdy high-school punks crashing a Harvard party – someday maybe, but for now they had better keep their distance. Still, for all its flaws, Best Of Poison – 20 Years of Rock
is still a very well-thought-out compilation and manages to assert itself as a worthy buy…as long as you don’t have Greatest Hits 1986-1996
Talk Dirty To Me
Rock'n'Roll All Night
Ride The Wind