Monday, April 10, 2017

Eugeology: Eugene's List of Hard Rock Albums and Possible Gems Part 12 - Twisted Sister 'Love Is For Suckers'

Yeah, I'm late. I'm not proud of it. I've just been like a bulletin board at work... Everyone has been coming up to me and pinning something onto my "to-do" list. And when I think I'm reaching a "caught up day", something wildly unexpected happens.

Today is a fine example of that, but dammit... I'm posting this after finally getting around to writing it up over the weekend.

I was pleasantly surprised with Jon and Tim's take on the album. So here goes...

From the opening track of Twisted Sister’s ‘Love Is For Suckers’ you come to the realization that they had arrived to an understanding of their short lived success. Dee Snider, since this was actually supposed to be a solo album, knew the costumed days were over. In a sense, Twisted Sister were the sleeping giant that needed a good shake for a wake up.

They had become the caricature that they portrayed in the videos. The band lost touch with reality and thought they could just rely on what they had built.

Sure, they broke away from the gimmick with the video for “The Price” but they went full on Icarus. Twisted Sister seemed to ignore all the warning signs and they put out a horrendous follow up to ‘Stay Hungry’ with ‘Come Out and Play’.

The album was heavily promoted by the record label, but Twisted Sister kept with the same style of videos without realizing that they had become tiresome. With the atrocious cover of “Leader of the Pack” and “Be Chrool To Your Scuel”, they went for mass appeal. Any shot at retaining the Twisted Sister that I loved was gone. Sure, the album scored gold with over 500,000 in sales but it was a piece of crap.

‘Love Is For Suckers’ shows the band with growth and maturity. The songs sound a little more polished and shined up for crossover acceptance without pissing off the main denim clad fan base. The album has its fair share of sweaty fist shaking anthems (“Tonight”, I Want This Night (To Last Forever)”, and “Yeah Right!”) but it shows a band that had grown musically and lyrically. They had finally grown into the sister with just the right amount of twist. They could even rock your face off with the ballad “You Are All That I Need”. They could summon up some old style rock and roll with the underrated gem that is “One Bad Habit”. The song has the snarky quality that makes it sound like an Alice Cooper cover.

Eddie Ojeda and Jay Jay French show much more skill on the guitars for this album. The production from Beau Hill really shows them in the greatest light of their careers on ‘Love Is For Suckers’. The drums of Joey “Seven” Franco (replacing AJ Pero) have that huge Led Zeppelin sound that kept the band firmly planted in hard rock territory while exploring facets of possibilities that Twisted Sister could have offered fans.

Yes. ‘Love Is For Suckers’ is a gem. At least it is in my heart.

I was handed a promotional copy that was sent to the record store and instructed to put it in “the stack” for in-store play. Even though I owned every album and a few imports by Twisted Sister at that time, I wasn’t looking forward to hearing anything new from them. They really burned me with an all-white clad Dee Snider (he should always be seen as the “black hat” as well as the rest of the band, after all they are “twisted”) that was presented during the ‘Come Out and Play’ album and videos.

I didn’t bother to play the album in the store. I had no burning desire to see what kind of new crap they were putting out, but someone else’s curiosity got the best of them. I cannot be sure, but I believe that it was Blake Faucette who finally put the LP into a night’s rotation.

After hearing the opening song, I knew that I wanted to hear more. And I purchased myself a copy of the compact disc on the next employee purchase day.

For me, there’s not a bad song on the album. Snider isn’t using the thesaurus for lyrics. He just keeps it natural. He doesn’t force it. The band, even though they were absolutely hating each other at the time, sounded better than they ever did on record. Every song had that hit potential.

Hell, my friends even covered “One Bad Habit” with their band.

Give it a shot. Put it in your canon and let your inner SMF out.

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