Not quite a new album and not quite a comp, Poison'd!
is a collection of covers from Poison
, many recorded in 2006 and 2007 with producer Don Was
, but also some pulled from previous albums dating as far back as Look What the Cat Dragged In
and Open Up and Say...Ahh!
. To the band's credit, it doesn't always sound like the music was recorded 20 years apart. Was
' production is punchier, beefier than the early stuff, and Brett Michaels
' voice is, conversely, a little rougher, but this is still recognizably the work of Poison
, a band that never seemed all that heavy no matter how loud the guitars roar, a band that never seemed all that dirty no matter how much they wanted to wallow in sleaze. This inadvertent lightness means that they sound as convincing covering Loggins & Messina
's "Your Mama Don't Dance" or Jim Croce
's "You Don't Mess Around with Jim" as they do singing Grand Funk
's "We're An American Band" or Kiss
' "Rock and Roll All Night," but it does rob Bowie
's "Suffragette City" of some needed muscle and turns the Who
's "Squeeze Box" into the insufferable cloying novelty it always wanted to be. But there are also some nice surprises along the way, particularly in the spirited, propulsive version of Tom Petty
's "I Need to Know," the subdued country twang on the Marshall Tucker Band
's "Can't You See" (reminiscent of Michaels
solo work) and, especially, the fizzy punch of Sweet
's "Little Willie," one of the first times Poison
had ever earned the glam appellation they so often receive. So, Poison'd!
is an uneven lot -- as any theme-based comp spanning 20 years would be -- but it's more fun than any new Poison
album in recent memory and more fun than it should be, even if it's not quite as much fun as it could
have been. But that's the perennial Poison
problem -- the image always was more fun than the reality.