Poison were the pure definition of hair metal. It was a kinder, gentler shift away from the grimy 70s and 80s of Ozzy and Lemmy. There was never enough hair spray, makeup, lipstick or pouting. ‘Look what the cat dragged in’ was at the head of the glam food chain, an album right in the hedonistic sweet spot of the mid 80s.
It was party music and plenty of the lyrics were sex driven, “I want action tonight, satisfaction all night”, “baby talk dirty to me” and “I want some, need some”, all marketed to horny teenagers watching MTV.
It was the perfect strategy, only ten songs in just over 30 minutes, there were no rambling seven-minute Metallica songs, it also spawned four hits ‘I want action’, ‘Talk dirty to me’, ‘cry tough‘, and the ballad ‘I won’t forget you’.
You could never call Poison the thinking mans’ band, the music was disposable, catchy and sing-a-long friendly, which was exactly the point, even if they wanted to be taken seriously.
The band spent a lot of their own money making this album, and for three years before being signed to a record label they’d lived in a flea infested West Hollywood apartment, but finally something clicked, the music, the look and the timing.
Recorded in 1986 it went on to become a certifiable hit, selling over 4 million copies and reaching #3 on the Billboard charts. Relentless touring with Quiet Riot, Ratt and Cinderella also helped push album sales.
As an eighteen year old I played this cassette tape to death. Every time I jumped in the brown Ford Escort I would slot this in and blast it, a strange appetizer to Slayers’ ‘Reign in Blood’, which in the metal universe is light years away, but this record was so catchy I couldn’t help but play it all the time.
Poison followed this up two years later with ‘Open up and say…ahh’, which was even more successful but eventually the hair metal boom lost momentum, partly because Axl wailed his way in and Cobain did the same.
But in the mid 80s ‘Look what the cat dragged in’ was the ultimate hairspray party album.
hallymustang rating : 3.5/5