I recently revisited an album from my childhood that I remembered getting from a BMG order catalog, which was Poison’s Native Tongue from 1993. Another one that I’ve recently been spinning is Winger’s Pull from 1994. Don’t get me wrong. I still have a hard time enjoying “glam metal,” but these two albums don’t really feel like glam. Poison still make me cringe every time they grace the radio with their presence with a sappy “Every Rose…” or a gutless “Unskinny Bop,” and I never really liked any Winger song beyond laughing when I heard “Seventeen.” I also never really like the legions of other bands who seemed to be carbon copies of each other like Warrant, Ratt, Cinderella, etc.
See, back when the early-1990s were beginning to morph into the mid-1990s, glam was dying the same hilariously quick but painful death that most popular music dies as some point. Cash cow bands like Poison and Winger were ceasing to produce the same money they did only a few years prior, so the music was becoming darker. The plight of being a falling star was really beginning to shine through in the music, and the bands really had to try to write quality material instead of rely on rehashing the same material with which fans were growing tired. The result was music that just felt meatier, more real, and with a soul.
Winger’s Pull has a tune on it called “In My Veins” that basically rocks my face off every time I hear it. In fact, most of Winger’s work after their “fall from glam grace” is pretty fantastic. It’s just pure, fun, fist-pumping, head-banging heavy music sans the hair spray and makeup. Poison, on the other hand, has a pretty savage sound on Native Tongue due in large part to new guitarist Richie Kotzen who replace C.C. Deville, and they barely even sound like Poison, which is awesome. Obviously, C.C. got clean and came back, and the band went back to nerve-grating glam, but at least this album exists.
Again, this was a cool era of music. Grunge killed the poppy glam metal. People say the “late 1980s glam heyday” era album from bands like these are the ones that should be desired. I say they’re wrong. This stuff is real, and it rocks.