"Skid Row" is the self-titled debut full-length studio album by US heavy rock/metal act Skid Row. The album was released through Atlantic Records in January 1989 and it is produced by prolific German producer Michael Wagener (Dokken, Mötley Crüe, White Lion...etc.). It´s the band´s most commercially successful album. It charted at number 6 on the Billboard 200 and it spawned three top 10 singles. They were relatively late to the glam/heavy rock/metal party of the 80s, but they made their entrance with a bang and enjoyed great success until the mid-90s.
The music on the 11 track, 39:41 minutes long album is attitude filled heavy rock/metal with nods toward glam. While it´s Mötley Crüe I´m instantly reminded of when listening to the music, Skid Row are generally heavier and more edgy and a comparison to early Guns N' Roses is probably more valid. The vocals are raw yet melodic, the guitar riffs blues based, the solos well played (and quite flamboyant and technically impressive at times), and the rhythm section offers up an energetic infectious drive.
The material are well composed and basically vers/chorus structured rock´n´roll played with a bit more distortion and attitude than usual. That relatively simple approach to writing and playing music works wonders here though because the tracks are as memorable and well played/sung as they are. Big fat choruses with backing choirs will have you humming the melodies long after the album has ended. This is instantly memorable music. The sound production by Michael Wagener is not surprisingly detailed and professional. The music could have prospered from a more organic sound, but considering that this was recorded and released in the 80s, it´s in the better end of sound productions from the decade.
The three top 10 singles from the album, "18 and Life", "I Remember You" and "Youth Gone Wild", are all great tracks, but there are other highlights on the album too like "Big Guns", "Sweet Little Sister", and "Rattlesnake Shake". In fact there´s not a single bad track on the album and with a relatively formulaic style of music like this, that´s quite the achievement. Overall it´s a great debut album by Skid Row, who didn´t have to work their way up before they became big in the mainstream. They started at the top of the world. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.