By Patrick Prince
“You Can’t Stop Rock ‘n’ Roll”
“Come Out And Play”
“Love Is For Suckers”
Armoury Classics, 3-CD set (ARM251242)
It’s the first time these three Twisted Sister albums are available in the same package. And this 3-CD set should, for the most part, appeal to both hardcore fans and curious listeners alike.
“You Can’t Stop Rock ’N’ Roll” is still Twisted Sister in its prime: raw, unpretentious, take-no-prisoners rock ’n’ roll, topped off with the classic title song. It’s hard to beat rockers like this one. And it doesn’t stop there, as three tasty bonuses follow: “One Man Woman,” “Four Barrel Heart of Love,” and “Feel the Power” (which were all on the original U.K. 12-inch single of “You Can’t Stop Rock ‘N’ Roll”), making this set immediately attractive. Note: “One Man Woman” is as good as anything Twisted Sister has ever done.
“Come Out and Play” followed the success of 1984’s “Stay Hungry” — a hard thing to follow up, but “Come Out and Play” is a strong release on its own. The album has a creepy Alice Cooper element to it (and, lo and behold, the shock rocker does make an appearance). Taking off with the rocket-fueled title track “Come Out and Play,” the album lays down a strong metal message of loyalty from the beginning. On the other side of the equation, “Be Chrool to Your School” is a quality rock ’n’ roll tune that would have been a hit parade favorite if it were released in, say, 1963.
The one downer is when the band makes an attempt at the dreaded ’80s metal mainstay: the power ballad. “I Believe in You,” for instance, falls flat with a very awkward pace, proving that these type of ballads are not Twisted Sister’s strong suit.
Standout tracks like “Kill or Be Killed” make up for any brief stumble on the full-throttle metal of “Come Out and Play,” though. Sister at its finest.
1987’s “Love is for Suckers” is the least palatable disc of this 3-CD pack. “Suckers” takes anthemic rock into the late ’80s when hair metal ruled the roost. Most of the arena-sized anthems here have tiresome, sing-song lyrics and are overblown with backing vocals that, after awhile, become bothersome. The closer, “Yeah Right” perfects it, like metal’s answer to Bow Wow Wow’s “I Want Candy.”
“Love is for Suckers” shows a band seemingly affected by the popularity of the hair metal of the day, at times sounding more like Poison than Twisted Sister (take “One Bad Habit” or the bonus track, “Feel Appeal,” for example). For those who liked it, Poison perfected pop hair metal. But this was never Twisted Sister’s genre. TS always had a unique, rougher edge to its anthem rock, apparent two discs earlier with “I Am (I’m Me)” or “We’re Gonna Make It.” No small wonder that shortly after the release of “Love is for Suckers,” the band separated for a long 15 years. The mojo needed a break to be reclaimed for a later day. “Suckers” is hardly real Twisted Sister; it’s more Twisted Kissing Sister lite. GM