Look What The Cat Dragged In

Poison

Enigma Records, 1986

http://www.poisonofficial.com

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 12/31/1998

In the latter years of their career, Poison proved themselves to be a band that rose above the hair and created some very solid hard rock. Their final album Native Tongue was an incredible release (which admittedly I haven't listened to in years) that was a commercial flop; that this album didn't get the attention it deserved in 1991 was a crime I never understood.

Looking back at this, I'm truly amazed that they ever got to that point. Their 1986 release Look What The Cat Dragged Inmy_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 captured everything in hard rock/heavy metal that was bad. The songwriting, the big hair and makeup, the simplistic beats and subject matters, they all add up to one thing: a piss-poor album.

It doesn't start off that poorly; "Cry Tough" is a halfway decent effort, although Bret Michaels, C.C. Deville, Bobby Dall and Rikki Rockett (what's embarrassing is that I know these names by memory) had no idea what a harmony vocal was at the time. (They'd eventually discover harmony vocals, and things would improve with their introduction.) This particular song isn't anything special in the world of hard rock, but is pleasant enough to listen to and unoffensive to the ear.

Then the plot sickens. Three words: "I Want Action". Three more words: Piece of crap. Delving into a poor effort at cock-rock is not the best move that Poison could have made. Further efforts in this vein ("Talk Dirty To Me," "Play Dirty," "Look What The Cat Dragged In") only make the case against this album that much stronger.

Things really hit the bottom of the barrel with "Let Me Go To The Show," the attempt at teenager-parent confrontation that has been done better by dozens of bands without making the teenager sound like a whining pansy. Why bother?

This album could have been significantly improved with two things. First, better songwriting. It helped later albums ("Something To Believe In," "Unskinny Bop," "Ride The Wind"), even if they didn't totally leave the cock-rock vein. Second, a change in image. This might seem superficial, because as I've always said, it's the music, stupid. But the fact of the matter is, once Poison dropped the makeup and stopped worrying about how high their hair was, they were able to get down to the music once and for all - and things did improve. But the fact is, Look what The Cat Dragged In is painful to listen to.

Poison went on to become a much better band than they ever got credit for. Too bad they never seemed to shake the albatross of Look What The Cat Dragged In off their necks.

Rating: D-

User Rating: D+


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© 1998 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Enigma Records, and is used for informational purposes only.