POISON — Open Up And Say... Ahh!

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POISON - Open Up And Say... Ahh! cover
3.14 | 15 ratings | 4 reviews
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Album · 1988

Filed under Glam Metal


1. Love On The Rocks (3:33)
2. Nothin' But A Good Time (3:45)
3. Back To The Rocking Horse (3:36)
4. Good Love (2:52)
5. Tearin' Down The Walls (3:51)
6. Look But You Can't Touch (3:25)
7. Fallen Angel (3:58)
8. Every Rose Has Its Thorn (4:20)
9. Your Mama Don't Dance (3:00)
10. Bad To Be Good (4:03)

Total Time: 36:27


- Bret Michaels / lead vocals
- C. C. DeVille / guitar
- Bobby Dall / bass
- Rikki Rockett / drums

About this release

May 21, 1988

Reissued including World Premiere Interview with the following bonus track:

11. Livin For The Minute (2:45)

Thanks to negoba, Lynx33 for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

First of all let me get this out of the way: You do not even have to read an interview with guitarist CC Deville or hear him talking about his influences to know that he was one of those American teenagers obsessed with Kiss (in a Detrot Rock City film style), just listen to his guitar sound and his riffs to see it clearly.

I confess that I have an absurd preconception about this Hair Metal thing. I have not yet heard a single decent record from this 'genre', but I keep trying, I guess. The only records I remember that I have somewhat enjoyed are The Final Countdown (Europe) and Screw It! (Danger Danger). Everything else I heard does not do anything for me. The almost Pop production of the 80s weights on that factor, and on several occasions, Metal does not even exist.

'Open Up and Say ... Ahh!', Poison's second record, does not change my mind, it's an ok record if it's playing as background music in some friends' meeting or at that Rock Bar you went for a beer, and that's all. 'Nothin' But A Good Time 'is a pretty cool track, and' Every Rose Has Its Thorn 'is the obligatory ballad of the record (every Hair Metal album needs a 'power ballad', right).

Like I said, in the end, forgettable after just one listen.
Vim Fuego
Back in the 80s, thrashers had mortal enemies in the form of glam rockers, and one of the biggest and easiest targets was Poison. Hairspray, make up, spandex and a penchant for happy pop songs mislabeled metal by a clueless press made Poison cannon fodder for the bullet belt, mullet and obscenely tight jeans brigade. Poison didn’t really give a damn, just carrying on their merry way, selling millions of records along the way.

‘Open Up And Say...Ahh!’ is a good exercise in the art of filler songs. Filler songs are like those gap filler products you can buy for fixing cracks in your walls- they match the wallpaper and you don’t really notice them. There were four singles released from this album, a 40 percent strike rate for a ten song album and while they were all reasonably successful, the rest was filler, and pretty bloody bland and formless filler at that.

First though, the good bits. “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” is the power ballad which all other power ballads aspire to be. It is weepy, cheesy and catchy, and surprisingly wasn’t written by Willie Nelson. It has a solo to die for, and to cry to, making a nonsense of all the criticism levelled at guitarist CC DeVille’s playing ability. This is a white trash anthem to broken hearts and lost loves, perfect for singing with newly found beer buddies.

“Your Mamma Don’t Dance” is an ancient Kenny Loggins song given the glam treatment. It’s harmless poppy nonsense, about teen antics and a girlfriend’s uncool parents. “Nothin’ But A Good Time” is an 80s version of the same song, but the teens have grown up, and want a weekend escape from the daily grind of life. “Fallen Angel” is a too cheerful treatment of the pitfalls of a small town girl trying to make it in the big city. These four songs have more hooks than a fishing tackle shop and more pop melodies than the Spice Girls mustered in an entire career. Poison always knew their musical limitations, and pushed their abilities right to the limit. Bret Michaels might not have had the strongest voice in the glam scene, but he knew it, and made the most of what talent he did have.

And then, the filler. Oh dear... But you can hardly blame the poor wee Poison boys, because all their heroes had made careers of padding out a couple of songs and calling it an album. Just check out pretty much any studio album by KISS or Van Halen or even Motley Crüe, and you’ll find half-hearted, underdone tracks aplenty. The song titles give it away- “Back To The Rocking Horse”, “Look But You Can’t Touch”, and “Love On The Rocks” don’t promise much, and deliver exactly that. There’s the odd decent moment, like a fun melody in the chorus of “Look But You Can’t Touch”, but moments don’t make songs. Poison manage to hit every cliché listed in the 1980s cock rock handbook, and add a few of their own. None of it is terribly cerebral, but then, it’s not supposed to be.

The vinyl album version of ‘Open Up And Say...Ahh!’ had a brilliant gimmick on the cover, in the form of a three dimensional tongue stuck to the painted up cat woman on the album cover. Looking back now, the cover is somewhat ridiculous and over the top, but that matched Poison’s music, and the lifestyle provided by a mega-million selling album. CC DeVille’s heroin addiction and Bret Michael’s appetite for shagging models and groupies are both well documented, and perhaps those excesses stopped the band ever reaching the same heights again. ‘Open Up And Say...Ahh!’ remains a dirty little secret, kept in the closet by many a metalhead who steadfastly denies ever owning it.
Poison did well with their debut, "Look What The Cat Dragged In", in 1986, and they successfully spread the venom with the follow-up, "Open Up and Say.. Ahh!", spawning four singles, including the well-known acoustical piece of "Every Rose Has Its Thorn". They stripped the heavy metal element from the debut and put a more stadium-oriented hard rock and commercial touch to the songs. The result is beyond any devil's expectation, racking up 10 million sales worldwide and boost their name to become the big contender for Bon Jovi and Guns N' Roses.

While many claims this is their best album, I hardly agree as I think Poison reached their peak later with "Flesh & Blood". Sure this has a lot of strong and classic tracks, but with some decent songs such as "Love On The Rocks", the Def Leppard-rip of "Tearin' Down The Walls", and the worst filler, "Bad To Be Good", this album suffered from what we called the songwriting consistency. My fave picks of the album are "Nothin' But A Good Time", a firey party starter, the stripper's naughty anthem of "Look But You Can't Touch", the bodyshaker Loggins and Messina cover of "Your Mama Don't Dance", the painful ballad of "Every Rose", but the top of the mountain is undoubtly the fame-and-fortune journey of "Fallen Angel".

The production is raw and thin. The volume level is very low you have to double-pump your speaker, I haven't got the remastered version yet but I hope they've resolved this issue. "Open Up And Say.. Aah!" is still a very good release, lots of fun and excitement, and with this album, Poison taught you how to live life and party hard. As long as you don't drive drunk, kill somebody, and blow up your liver, that's quite a harmless lesson to learn.
Full On Glam Hits the Big Time

While Poison had done quite well with their debut album, it was their sophomore effort that marked their place in history. The G-C-D power ballad "Every Rose Has It's Thorn" became probably the prototype of the glam power ballad, taking the standard and making all followups a cliche. The first single and video for "Nothin' but a Good Time" are glam party metal at it's best. Big production, fun riffs, loud guitars and singalong choruses. C.C. took a lesson or two and his soloing was getting slowly better, and the whole band kept doing their bad-boy swing.

Where some of the songs on the debut were so raw to seem almost punkish, the songwriting on Open Up is more melodic. Bret Michaels clearly was taking the lead of Bon Jovi and used a storytelling style in several of the songs ("Fallen Angel," "Look but You Can't Touch") that made the verses more memorable. This also softened the raw raucousness a bit, a trend that would continue. As before this was music for teenages and I was one of them at the time. It was a good time, luckily for me a much tamer good time than C.C. had.

Bottom Line: Party Rock Hits Pay Dirt.

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  • Sisslith
  • kalacho
  • Bojanthebest
  • aglasshouse
  • sepozzsla
  • Lynx33
  • stefanbedna
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