Great Metal Albums of 1986: Poison- Look What the Cat Dragged In

There’s a funny story behind how I first was introduced to Poison. A bunch of us were talking about who were the hottest women in heavy metal. Doro, Lee Aaron and Kelly Johnson of Girlschool were top runners. Then out of nowhere, one guy put forward Poison guitarist, CC Deville. One it was made known that CC was a guy, it brought forth a lot of laughter. My sister did state that he wore more make up than she did. Since then, Poison’s reputation for looking like ladies is as strong, maybe stronger, than their music. One commentator once referred to them as ‘phillies with willys.’

Let us focus on the music of Poison and their debut album, “Look What the Cat Dragged In.” What I like about this album is that the great majority of the songs have a catchy vibe which satisfies the commercial market and metalheads. I love the intro on the opener and big single, “Cry Tough.” In fact, our little group at college used to use the drum beat as a secret knock. The guitars are good, at least played well with in CC’s capabilities and the lyrics are memorable. This is one of my inspirational songs when I need a lift.

The next couple of songs also have a bit of a catchy vibe. “I Won’t Forget You” is an all right power ballad but a few years later, Poison would have a power ballad that blows this one away. Then after that, the try to go more hard metal on “Play Dirty.” They should have turned the guitar up a bit more, then it would have been a more convincing rocker. The same could be said for the title cut, though I like this one better. I can’t put my finger on it but there is definitely something catchy about it. I don’t even find Bret Michaels awful attempt at making a cat meow annoying.

Next, we come to the second best known single from the album, “Talk Dirty to Me.” Watching the video after so many years, I can say that if I was in Poison, seeing it now, I’d cringe in embarrassment. This song is horribly cheesy but yet, I really like it! I remember they closed their set when I saw them live at Donnington in 1990 and it was a great way to end the show.

Probably the most straightforward metal tune comes in the form of “Want Some, Need Some.” Like many of the songs on the album, it has a catchy melody but there is a more hard rock feel to it. However, “Blame It On You” is even harder. I sense a boogie vibe on this song and once again, that vibe is very catchy. Same can be sad about “Bad Boy.” That song is probably the best of the three mentioned here and in no way would I call any of these tracks ‘filler.’ They’re all good rockers and maybe placing them towards the end of the album was a good idea as they definitely keep the party going.

The album’s closer, “Let Me Go to the Show,” was already known to me through the Metal Sister’s Compilation Tape. The lyrics about a boy who sneaks out and goes to a concert he isn’t allowed to go to isn’t anything new. It has been the plot in episodes of quite a few sit coms, especially back then. While the song itself is nothing special compared to the rest of the album, it’s the very end which makes the song for me. The father yelling, “You heard your mother, turn that shit off!”

Track Listing:

  1. Cry Tough
  2. I Want Action
  3. I Won’t Forget You
  4. Play Dirty
  5. Look What the Cat Dragged In
  6. Talk Dirty to Me
  7. Want Some, Need Some
  8. Blame It On You
  9. Bad Boy
  10. Let Me Go to the Show

Bret Michael- lead vocals

CC Deville- guitar, backing vocals

Bobby Dall- bass, backing vocals

Rikki Rocket- drums, backing vocals

Whether you think Poison were poseurs, phillies with willys or even a cool glam metal band, it doesn’t matter. Like it or not, their debut album, “Look What the Cat Dragged In,” took 1986 by storm on both sides of the Atlantic.

Next post: Tribute to a Metal Sister

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18 Responses to “Great Metal Albums of 1986: Poison- Look What the Cat Dragged In”

  1. Bwahahah! Oh man. I was in the record section at Zellers with my buddies. Looking at the Poison album cover…man I thought Bret and Rikki were hot! I had no idea they were not women. Someone had to tell me.

    This album has grown on me, but it is really haggard sounding.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Oh man, “Phillies with Willies”…I hadn’t heard that before. That is awesome!! It is a very bad album, but it is catchy as hell and there are some great moments so in the end, it is at least a very enjoyable listen. Thankfully they would go on to do better things, but this one is still worth a listen.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I watched some documentary one time where a guy, talking about the LA scene in the 80s, said (paraphrasing) “yeah a lot of guys wanted to f*** the chicks in Poison.” Etc.

    This is silly fun glammy metal blues pop rock, and if you don’t try to attach more to it, it’s a damn good tie.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I like some of Poison’s stuff, but I’m not a fan of “I Want Action”! What is with all these rock bands singing about wanting action?!?!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Cry Tough is a great track and a few others on it but I found there next two were better. Hottest Women in rock lol…
    Great writeup.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great LP, reminds me of great times. The title track has some proper heft to it too.

    Liked by 1 person

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