Capitol Reissues

Poison

We can see all around us that the style and tastes of the 80s have made their way back in to mainstream culture. Polka dots, black footless tights, and denim skirts have all made a comeback. These may be the symbols of the 80, but the hallmark of the decade is its hair. Amidst the revival of bangs and headbands comes the return of something else: the era’s favorite glam rock hair band: Poison. And now, digitally remastered versions of their first three, platinum-selling albums — Look What The Cat Dragged In, Open Up And Say…Ahh!, and Flesh & Blood — have been rolled out to kick off their “20 Years of Rock” tour.

Whenever a band makes any type of “comeback,” fans always waver between excitement and fear: the excitement is about the opportunity to see their favorite bands play live again; and the fear is that they are going to discover that the bands they loved when they were kids play kid music they can’t relate to any more. This combination of excitement and fear may be exacerbated when the band is one like Poison, well-known for being outrageous and pushing the edge of their own boundaries. After all, can a band known for being over-the-top still push the envelope when they have been playing for 20 years? Or will they sound as silly now as footless tights did a few years ago? With the reissue of these three CDs, Poison prove that it is indeed possible to release 20-year-old music without dating themselves.

These guys may be a couple of decades older than they were when their CDs first went platinum, but they have not lost any of the energy or drive that they had back then. Instead of merely releasing another greatest hits album, the old records are remarkably remastered and brought up to modern standards. Showing even more of the creativity and motivation at the heart of their work, each disc also includes previously unreleased tracks. Bonus tracks include an instrumental version of “God Save The Queen,” as well as an acoustic version of “Something to Believe In.” Hits like "Talk Dirty To Me," "Nothin' But A Good Time," "Every Rose Has Its Thorn," and "Unskinny Bop" sound as fresh and vibrant as if they were recorded yesterday.

Something not be missed by any Poison fan is the interview included on Open Up and Say … Aah!. During the interview, which is interspersed with bits of other well-known tracks, the band members discuss everything from what they like about one another to how they got their name. What stands out most is the sense of inspiration you feel when listening to the band members talk about their work. They discuss their roots and how they worked hard to get to where they are. You get the sense that it’s all true. When a band becomes as famous as Poison did and manages to stay strong on the scene over the course of two decades, it is sometimes easy to forget that they were once normal people with normal lives. Through hard work and ingenuity, Poison managed to realize their musical dreams. They also continued to grow as musicians, which is evident on the remastered tunes. They paint a striking picture of their own growth, with descriptions of the idea that “when you climb up to the highest branch, there’s the chance that it’s going to snap,” and inspirational advice to just keep on climbing anyway because it is the only chance you have to get to where you want to go.

The branch did not snap for Poison. And with these reissues, they just keep on climbing. They were and continue to be the “first to come to the party and the last to leave.” While it isn't exactly true that they were first on the glam rock scene, they were there in the thick of it, and are still hanging on today. Long after the footless tights have been put away and the bangs on girls across the nation have been grown out again, this hair band’s latest CDs will remain in regular rotation.

~ Kathryn Vercillo

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