Review Summary: WHOA-OH WHOA-OH, THAR SHE BLOWS!
Although it’s debatable whether the concept of parody could ever be saddled as “genius,” there’s something imminently profound about Steel Panther lead vocalist Michael Starr screaming “50 Cent’s a fag, so is Kanye West, shootin hot sperm on each other’s chesssssssssssssssssssst” in the lead track to Steel Panther’s hair metal ripfest “Feel the Steel.” When “chest” is emphasized with a vowel sound that actually doesn’t exist in the word, called to arms by a nut curdling wail previously only perfected by Don Dokken, you know you’re in for something. For the uninformed, Steel Panther is a parody of a parody of a parody. The quintessential crux of their parody, hair metal, was obviously a parody of the bombast of the 80’s whether or not it pretended to be legit. It doesn’t take away from the fact that it absolutely ruled, but nevertheless the onus of hair metal was reveling in the most bombastic aspects of life. And laying down big guitar riffs. And screwing girls.
In order to parody something, you better God Damn well get it right. In Steel Panther’s case, they could have written a text book for laying down legit glam infused power chord laden awesomeness had they actually been an act in the 80’s. In short, Steel Panther is the best hair metal band on the planet, and would have been in the top 5 had they existed in its hey-day. So what if “Party All Day (F*ck All Night)” sounds more Bon Jovi and Bon Jovi. It’s a better song than 95% of the stuff ol’ Jon and Richie S came up with while non-homo-erotically sweating on each other in their parent’s basements in Jersey. You think that “Death To All But Metal’s” main riff sounds like something Mick Mars threw away after getting frustrated by (again) watching everybody else in the band but him getting laid on an hourly basis? Doesn’t matter. If watershed power ballad “Community Property” sounds like the kind of song Warrant’s Jani Lane tried to write (and probably did) in the 80’s but was frequently denied by enhanced censorship laws, it’s probably the case. One thing we do know for sure is Jani couldn’t carry a tune in the same epic veracity during lines like “I’ll kiss your mouth even after I swallow my load.” Closing ballad “Girl From Oklahoma” probably has Nuno Bettencourt and Gary Cherone from Extreme lining up to sue Steel Panther’s ass into oblivion, but its only because the fine campfire-acoustic stylings and powerful chorus “so come on pretty baby suck my balls all night” is ten times the song “More Than Words” is, and roughly 1000 times less gay. Bret Michaels is too incapacitated at the moment to get upset about “Stripper Girl” being arguably the best song Poison never wrote, but since he seems like a cool dude anyway, he might just nod his head in appreciation at lines like “I wanna jam it in and out at a real fast pace til I squirt hot juicy all over your face” over a whoa-oh chorus and a riff Warren DeMartini from Ratt is really pissed he didn’t think of.
When a song about finding the most carnal embraces of rotund lard embroiled women (‘Fat Girl’) is probably the cleanest song on the album, it’s pretty obvious that Steel Panther got away with something their heroes couldn’t: unabashed filth. And in Steel Panther’s case, it works better than almost any other musical parody in history. This is everything that hair metal subtlety tried to be, if there was anything ever truly subtle about it in the first place. Nevertheless, the world of rock is graced by Steel Panther’s existence, and Steel Panther would be glad to tell you about it over a few truckloads of coke.