Review Summary: Doesn't really warrant your attention, but you will be entertained if you choose to listen to it.Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich
was released in early 1989, when the airwaves were still dominated by glam metal and one band in multicolor clothes and with Aquanetted manes quickly replaced another. Many albums were sold in millions of copies, providing record labels with stable financial income and artists – with throngs of fans and, more importantly, female fans. Warrant also wanted its slice of a pie, and for that they signed a contract with Columbia Records and began recording its debut LP.
Stylistically Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich
is no different from albums of the band’s contemporaries: it includes more rocking cuts and the genre mandatory requirement – power ballads. There are two on the album – Sometimes She Cries
. Both were released as singles and in terms of chart success were very popular. However, these ballads have no distinguishing qualities whatsoever, that would allow to separate them from plenitude of similar songs by other bands. They were recorded with a clear understanding of elements that catch the ear and pull the heartstrings of a potential listener: melancholic acoustic plucking (or emotional electric intro), epic solo as a culminating point, lyrics devoted to feelings of lovelorn, and heartfelt vocals. To be honest, it is not entirely clear why these songs became the most popular from the record, most likely the moment of release was just right.
Other cuts presented on the album are of a more rocking nature and hence somewhat more interesting. The first three that open the debut – 32 Pennies
, Down Boys
and Big Talk
– are probably the most driving. Specifically some of the things in last two songs should be noted, as they echo the 70s rock. Over the whole duration of Down Boys
synth backing is noticeable, eliciting thoughts of the aforementioned time period, and Big Talk
(undoubtedly the best cut on the album) was clearly inspired by the ever-great Thin Lizzy (not the worst source of inspiration) and in a certain manner remind of their The Boys Are Back in Town
. As for the other songs, they are of various level of successfulness and interestingness. The faster and more aggressive Some Damn Pretty
and the eponymous D.R.F.S.R.
contain some elements that manage to maintain the interest of a listener, as well as In the Sticks
, but the last two songs start to run into one another and bring nothing to the table.
Overall, the album leaves an impression of being precalculated, with conscious understanding of what can hook, line and sinker a prospective buyer. Obviously there was not much artistic intent behind it. Musicianship of the band members also affects the perception. Everything is on an average and solid level: guitars are interesting enough, but do not attract too much attention, serving only as backing; drums maintain a simple rhythm and do nothing beyond that; bass can be barely heard, which was standard for glam metal. In addition, the sound is given a thick layer of studio polish, which producer Beau Hill (Ratt, Winger) had firsthand knowledge of. (Also, as a curious side note – there were rumors (many years later confirmed by Mr. Hill) that the two guitar players in Warrant failed to produce satisfying solo sections, so a decision was made to bring in an experienced session musician.) The only band member, who manages to stick out above the others (but not by much) is the singer and songwriter Jani Lane, making some decent hooks to keep the listeners entertained. In addition to having a pretty good voice in medium register (without excessive wimpiness or squeakiness present in some of the bands) he also tries to extend the subgenre boundaries, though with different degrees of success. Typical themes of tough boys, sex and money are delivered somewhat ironically, but this becomes ironic in itself from a certain standpoint.
To sum up, it can be said that Warrant’s debut LP is more of a product aimed at multimillion sales, then artistic statement. The songs are written and performed slickly, professionally and with the required polish, and pleasant to listen to. However, it might be difficult to recall anything you have just heard the moment the album ends.