Review Summary: You know you’re in trouble when Shrek’s version of What I Like About You is more interesting than your band’s.
Where do you go when you’ve been everywhere? This must have been the question on Poison’s mind circa 2006. After all, since their return, the group had touched upon every single cliché for an aging rock band, from the live show to the ballad album to the commemorative best-of. So what could they do next to make sure they were remembered? The answer lay in another major rock’n’roll cliché, and one yet untouched by the band: the cover album. Hence Poison’d!
, which slaps a few new covers together with the previously released ones to make for an entertaining, if immensely irrelevant, package.
Now, unlike what one may have thought at first, Poison’s choice of covers is not all that commercial. Instead, the band choose to stray on the classic side of rock’n’roll, presenting retellings of songs by Alice Cooper, The Sweet, Pete Townshend, David Bowie, the Rolling Stones, KISS and Grand Funk Railroad, among others. Sure, the “digital edition” has a Justin Timberlake cover, but that’s pretty much the group’s only concession to modernity; other than that, Poison seem to just be genuinely honoring their influences.
The problem is their covers are hit-and-miss at best. Vibrant opener Little Willy
seems to set us on a positive path, but things quickly take a turn for the boring, with the group’s interpretations either lacking passion or just ranking as average. The worst offender is ballad I’ll Never Cry
, where the lack of interest – and choruses – would be enough to make original writer and ballad-master Alice Cooper blush. Fortunately, there is never anything as bad as that track again, but for every I Need To Know, What I Like About You
or You Don’t Mess Around With Jim
there’s another interminable Dead Flowers
or Just What I Needed
. And while Bret Michaels’ flexible register often allows him to sound close to the original singers, he sometimes sounds disinterested and going through the motions. Plus, you know you’re in trouble when Shrek’s version of What I Like About You
is more interesting than your band’s.
As such, it is up to the old covers to save the day. Unfortunately, this album is not as inclusive as previous compilations, and therefore does not include Cover Of The Rolling Stone
, a fun track, but one which doesn’t feature C.C. DeVille, and was therefore left out of the album. However, we do still get the sprightly Rock’n’Roll All Night
, the single-entendre stomper Squeeze Box
and, of course, Your Mama Don’t Dance
, a track which is all but canon for Poison, but which conveniently doubles as a cover, allowing for its inclusion here.
Along with the likes of Little Willy, You Don’t Mess Around With Jim
and Need To Know
, these tracks make up the part of the record really worth listening to. As for the rest, it all depends: if you’re in the mood for some fun, but forgettable, covers, jump right in; otherwise, you might be best served investing your money elsewhere. Score another notch for Poison’s mediocrity belt.
Your Mama Don’t Dance
Rock’n’Roll All Night