Monday, November 27, 2006

Livin'... Lovin'... Givin' everything that you got!

#25 Warrant, Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich (Columbia, 1989).

Well, it begins. Pleased to meet you all. If you don’t know me, I’m Sean Burt, I live in Durham, NC, and you can think of me as the Guy Who Put Warrant In His Top 25. How did this happen? A story: the other night I decided to fix a little problem. My account on was frustratingly stagnant. I was owed 6 CDs, but for almost 3 weeks nothing from my rocksnob-heavy “want” list was forthcoming. So I sat back, cracked a few beers and began the brainstorming. Surprisingly, after each drink, the notion of listening to some good old fashioned hair metal started to sound like a better and better idea. “What if I could find that diamond in the rough – the classic hair metal album?” I thought. With the impossible dream in mind, I started to do my research – snippets on itunes, allmusic reviews, unhinged yet compelling raves on I Love Music. I narrowed it down to 5 possibilities, and -zap- added them to my “want” list. I considered that I would maybe get one or two of them, figuring, you know, that whoever has this stuff by now must really want it and would be unlikely to give it away. I closed the laptop and stepped away from the desk. A half hour later, I came back to the computer, only to be greeted with 5 cds on the way! Oh, the buyer’s remorse. Though I learned my lesson about drinking while buying music the hard way, at this point, I had no choice but to toughen up and listen to them.

I should note here that I loved me some hair metal from 6th-9th grade, so the nostalgia factor creeps in here, and perhaps there is some pro-hair metal tokenism going on with the appearance of this album in my Top 25. And the tokenism goes as follows: so the main defender of this genre is Chuck Klosterman, whose argument was (paraphrased), “well, we liked it, so it must have been important on some level, even if I don’t know what.” That’s way too wishy-washy for my tastes. Hair metal, my friends, was good/great when (and only when) it was power pop gold, the New Pornographers with leather pants, poofy bangs, and Satan. As an example, check out “Cold Blood” by Kix. Trust me: pop explosion.

But, on to Warrant, which is the pick of my litter. I owned and loved this cassette way back when, and it’s still good. The first 4 tracks of DRFSR could be a five-star bitchin’ hair metal EP (can you imagine such a thing as a hair metal EP? And if so, can you imagine any adjective to describe it other than bitchin’?) and it doesn’t even include either the Monster BalladTM “Heaven,” or “In the Sticks,” a moving paean to doin’ it in a barn. Plus, they manage to avoid putting on any unlistenable tracks, which is scientifically documented as unprecidented in hair metal (see R. McCoy, G. Incognito, and M. Power in Science 125 (1994): 535-536). The 3rd track, “Big Talk” is the true pop gem, even better than the undeniable “Down Boys.” Also, auxillary monster ballad “Sometimes She Cries” holds up way way way better than I thought it would, and in fact I can totally imagine it being rocked boy-band/AmIdol style by ‘NSYNC or Party Posse or whatever (and this is unequivocally a compliment, by the way).

If you are still with me, here’s another tokenism update. Among my lala bounty included a copy of Def Leppard’s Hysteria, which is to be honest probably better than DRFSR. So, if you want to be technical about it maybe Hysteria is my real #25. But I don’t feel like Def Leppard really is hair metal. What it comes down to is that it’s now obvious that Def Lep knew all along who T. Rex and Roxy Music were, and that just seems unfair.


Big Cougar said...

Most enjoyable post of the day, hands down. It's good to know someone else has dealt with LaLa requesting remorse, i.e. why did I ever think that fleshing out my Morrissey collection would have a happy ending?

Sean B said...

Thanks for the compliment. The worst is getting a crappy album without the album art.. now what? Although I have to admit I feel a great amount of joy shipping off one of my clunkers (you know, the kind that even the used cd store won't take) to some chump. A banner day when I was able to plop both discs of a Widespread Panic live set on some fool. (Hey, we all have skeletons in our closets, no?) I'm sure he's "havin' a good time" now.