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Poison
Hollyweird
July 2002
Released: 2002, Cyanide Records Inc.
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Celtic Bob

First a little background info. This is Poison’s first full-length studio album to feature the original 4 members since FLESH & BLOOD. Granted, they had 2 studio albums without C.C (one with Ritchie Kotzen and one with Blues Saraceno). Both albums were good but they just weren’t the same without C.C.



HOLLYWEIRD is very much a Poison album. They have returned to the musical formula that made them big in the first place. This disc has the catchy beats and the lyrical style that you’d expect from them. I can’t say its FLESH & BLOOD pt. 2 but it is definitely up there with the first 3 albums. If you only remember (and like) them for their “Power Ballads” then forget this album, as it is NOT like that.



This disc starts off with the title track and it is a perfect opener to the disc and it sets the mood for the rest of the disc. It’s a good solid rocker featuring some excellent guitar work by C.C. There are several standout tracks on this album as well as a couple of surprises. The first of which are both, the track “Emperor’s New Clothes” which features C.C. Deville on lead vocals is amazing and the chorus is quite catchy so it may stick in your head for a few days after a listen or two. Next up is the tune “Stupid, Stoned & Dumb” which is upbeat and features classic lyrics of yesterday when they ruled the airways. The title tells you what it’s all about in true Poison fashion. The biggest surprise on the CD is the track “Home.” First up is “Bret’s Story” which is very reminiscent of The Ramones - a punk influenced song that gives Bret’s view on his life. This song is then followed by “Home (C.C.’s Story) which is the same song musically but different lyrics that shows C.C.’s view on his life on the road and it is also the 3rd song in which C.C. handles the lead vocals and he does a good job on all of them. Closing off this release is “Rockstar” which was released as a single last year that many people probably never heard. A decent tune very much in the “Open Up” vein that closes the CD nicely.



My only complaint about this disc is that it is too short. I mean, just over 42 minutes for a CD this day in age is insane. C’mon people you must have more great songs to make it at least 50 + minutes. A great disc that you must go purchase.
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Poison
Hollyweird
August 2002
Released: 2002, Cyanide
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: JP

Don’t let the mainstream press fool you. This is not a reunion, reformation or return. Poison never went away. Think about it. I have read two or three reviews already where the journalist has said this is the first Poison album since “Native Tongue”. Bullshit. Poison had persevered in a tough industry in an even tougher musical genre and they are survivors.



The new CD Hollyweird is just another great chapter in the bands almost 20 year history, (they were formed in Philly way back in ’83) and despite a few guitarists coming and going and coming again the band has remained intact. From the clubs to stadiums back to clubs and now currently working their way back up to stadiums again Poison deliver the goods, namely kick-ass rock ’n’ roll. Hollyweird offers very little in way of surprises, which is good because I (and many fans) don’t want them to change into something they are not. I want OPEN UP AND SAY…AHH!, Part 5, 6, 7 etc… and I’m not ashamed to hear it. Having said that, this album does have a few neat little ideas while remaining completely faithful to the Poison identity and sound.



C.C. Deville is back and sang on three of the 13 tracks here. The guitar tone is a little fuzzier and just a little more modern. There are many elements of humour on this disc especially Track 10 , “Stupid, Dumb and Stoned”. I really, really enjoyed tracks 11 and 12 which are musically the same song. The song is called “Home”. One version is subtitled “Brett’s story” with his lyrics and vocals and number 12 is subtitled “C.C.’s story” with his lyrics and vocals. I like CC’s a little better because it is funnier but Brett’s is a little more heartfelt and sincere. A very neat idea and they pulled it off nicely.



The first single is a cover tune “Squeeze Box”. Guy’s! Never release a cover tune as a first single, it is just bad. It says, “We don’t have faith in our own material!” Get a grip!! The band can’t say that they had label pressure because they are their own label now, Cyanide Records. The song itself is OK but I like Roxy Blue’s version from 1992 better. There is a world-weary rock ’n’ roll charm on this CD. When they were young they were singing about screwin’ a thousand girls because they wanted to and probably could. Now when they sing about screwin’ a thousand girls it sounds a little more jaded because you know they have been their and done that. But what else are Poison gonna sing about…politics? Religion?



Overall this CD is very, very good. There is a surprising lack of power ballads (none!) and there is a lyrical theme of “making it” running through the album, especially on tracks like “Shooting Star”, “Wishful Thinking” and “Rock Star”. Some people might question my 4/5 rating. Why so high for Poison, fer cryin’ out loud? They do what they do and they are the best. They spawned a thousand imitators, they are survivors and experts at what they do. Cinderella has stalled, G ’n’ R are in limbo, Warrant are struggling, Kiss is sidetracked but Poison, with the same four dudes, are still making kick-ass rock ’n’ roll. I admire their dedication and consequently enjoy their new music as much now as I did as a teen. If you want modern representation of glam and melodic hard rock in your collection (and I know you do) get the best and get this CD.
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