Review Summary: Originally conceived as a Dee Snider solo record, this one fails the almighty sniff test.
Devoted metal fans can be intuitive about whether or not an album is cool enough to own and this one did NOT pass my initial sniff test. Many SMF’s probably wouldn't even consider purchasing this after beholding the silly, hair metal styled album cover. Originally conceived as a Dee Snider solo album, record company pressure convinced him to finish LOVE IT FOR SUCKERS as a Twisted Sister album. Of course, most fans had little idea about these backroom politics when they heard it for the first time.
For starters, the band sounds as if they were trying WAY too hard to imitate their contemporaries. LOVE IS FOR SUCKERS is an insipid pop-metal album full of bombastic choruses that very few self respecting Twisted Sister fans would actually sing along with. These songs simply reeked of the formula they were carefully contrived from. Exhibit A would be the single “Hot Love”, which is full of the same clichéd guitar techniques and sounds as you might find on a Winger record.
Although Jay Jay & Eddie’s guitars sound more distorted and aggressive here than on prior records, this may have been a vain attempt to toughen up the band’s sound. That strategy fails miserably as it makes them sound amateurish for not having selected complementary guitar tones for these songs.
Original drummer A. J. Pero was replaced by Joey Franco for this record. A. J.’s powerful drumming provided a sturdy and propulsive backbone for the band, so his absence is certainly felt here. However, I won’t fault Joey for his efforts here, as the drumming seems to be the least of the problems found on this album.
The decision to finish LOVE IS FOR SUCKERS as a Twisted Sister album had disastrous consequences for the fate of the band, many of whom were also quite unhappy with the album. Just two months after the August 12, 1987 release of the album, Dee Snider announced his decision to leave Twisted Sister, effectively silencing the group for the next years 17 years. After reuniting in 2004, Twisted Sister avoided playing any material from this album for fear of stirring up bad memories from this era. However, they relented in 2012 and elected to perform “Wake Up (The Sleeping Giant)” again, which was the only song on this record I’d choose as a highlight.
To be fair, Dee Snider had always incorporated a very strong pop-metal element into his songwriting. Their prior record COME OUT AND PLAY alternated between aggressive numbers like the title track and “Kill Or Be Killed” with lighthearted pop-metal moments, such as their cover of “Leader Of The Pack”.
I believe the main problem here is that he tries to combine these two styles within each song. The mixture winds up being too pop for metalheads and too noisy for pop-metal fans. When regarded as a Dee Snider solo record, I can be slightly more understanding of what he was trying to do, but still not love the outcome. As a Twisted Sister fan, I’d view this as an ill-conceived misstep that bordered on sacrilege.