Welcome to the musical meandering insights of Aaron Joy, aka the Joyful Gadfly! Musician, podcaster, writer, historian ... here you'll find 600 reviews of CDs & DVDs of rock & metal in all its variations, mainstream & indie. What they all share is that the album is unique in some way. Please share these reviews or link to them if you like what you read. Reviews are no longer being posted here but feel free to e-mail Aaron & post comments. (Formerly the Roman Midnight Music Blog)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Twisted Sister ~ Still Hungry

(Click on heading to visit official website.)
Style: glam, hard rock, shock rock
Label: Spitfire
Year: 2004
Home: New York City

Members: Dee Snider ~ vocals
Eddie "Fingers" Ojeda, Jay Jay French ~ guitars
Mark "The Animal" Mendoza ~ bass
A. J. Pero ~ drums

When I was first in school, while mom was getting ready to walk me, I would spin 45s on my little plastic record player ... which was often the first thing I did getting home. My small collection included Hall & Oates, George Harrison, Whitney Houston, We Are The World & Twisted Sister. Which one of these seems out of place? Later I got the full length "Still Hungry" by Twisted Sister, considered the climax of their output & I can't count the number of times I've listened to it ... & sang along to every word. Over the years the album has always stood up well. It's heavy, in a pre-death metal way & doesn't fall into the now dated sounding power ballad trap that later hair bands are plagued with. This is a must album for any metal collection. By the time my family got cable & thus MTV Twisted Sister was already out of the scene, so my primary approach to them has always been the music. This is probably a good thing, because you don't necessarily expect good music from a band that looks like clowns gone bad. Twenty years after "Still Hungry" was relegated to 'classic 80's discount bin' status, a reunited Sister went into the studio & re-recorded it nearly note-for-note. They also said that the original album was too glossy for their tastes, so taking advantage of new technology & musical trends they re-recorded the album (to quote allmusic.com) "to improve upon perfection." These are pretty much the same arrangments. On initial listen it might just sound like a remastered version, but there are slight differences that come out if you truly compare it to the original. It is heavier & darker, while the solos are a bit Slash-inspired & Dee's voice has changed so he doesn't hit the high notes like he did. It's still a great album, but it reminds me of the Cream reunion at the Royal Albert Hall some years ago. Cream was great because they were musicially a little rough & unpredictable, so when all the musicians reunited & showed they were better musicians 30 years later, it didn't improve the music. It just made all the songs sound more slick & less drug-inspired & raw. "Still Hungry" is supposed to sound better but I really don't see the improvement & can only wonder if this was done to help revive the T.S. franchise & Dee's music career. If you haven't heard TS this album is the best of their output & this version won't put you off, if you're an original fan this is a nostalgia trip & not necessary to get. The album includes 7 bonus tracks of material written for the original album but never recorded which are in some ways better then the 9 songs that preceed them as they sound like TS today & not TS trying to sound like yesterday. This is the reunion TS we want to hear, tucked away in obscurity. "Sgt. Pepper" is considered a pivitol album & a classic, I wonder if the remaining two Beatles have plans to re-record it? They haven't had a hit in years, maybe it's time. It's can't hurt, though it would probably be better to just make some new music.

(featured on the Roman Midnight Music CD Reviews & Interviews podcast: episode 2 "New Rock In New York City", September 2010, click here to listen)

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