Maggie S. (wiccania) from DENVER, CO Reviewed on 8/13/2006...
guitar driven and bluesy. not as "fun" as poison's releases with guitarist CC Deville -- Ritchie Kotzen definitely put his stamp on this album, but a great album. a little darker than the poison most people are familiar with.
A worthy follow-up to Flesh and Blood
Daniel Maltzman | Arlington, MA, USA | 03/18/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"80s rock bands didn't have it easy in the 90s. With the overnight popularity of Nirvana and Pearl Jam, just like that, almost instantly, bands like Motley Crue, Poison, Warrant, Skid Row, etc, were suddenly completely passe. Most old-school rockers probably didn't even know what hit them, as they went from the arenas to theatres in just a few short years.
In 1990 Poison were at the top of their game. That year saw the release of their third multi-platinum album "Flesh and Blood" and their first headlining arena tour. Songs like "Unskinny Bop" and "Something to Believe In" dominated MTV and Poison were one of the most popular bands of the very early 90s.
Unfortunately for Poison, however, in the fall of 1991 the band suffered two major blows. First was the release of Nirvana's "Nevermind" which completely changed the landscape of hard rock, and second was the departure of lead guitarist C.C. Deville.
Knowing full well that Poison's brand of power-pop, anthem-laden hard rock was out-of-touch with the times; the band sought a new direction. Guitar virtuoso Ritchie Kotzen was brought in as Deville's replacement, and in early 1992, the band started work on their new album.
Old-school hard rock and metal bands reacted differently to the musical sea change in the early 90s. Some bands like Motley Crue tried to embrace a current sound, whereas others, like Arcade (Stephan Pearcy's post RATT band) and Vince Neil lived in a vacuum, not acknowledging that anything had changed. Poison, however, took a different path. Rather than try to jump on a bandwagon or remain stagnant, the band attempted to mature, while at the same time keeping many elements of their signature sound intact. In early 1993, Poison's new album "Native Tongue" was finally released.
In some ways, "Native Tongue" sounds like the natural follow-up to "Flash and Blood." Listening to "Flesh and Blood" you can see where the band was going, incorporating elements of blues into their sound, along with some mature themes. The three minute sex-laden anthems that had so defined the band's first two albums were eschewed, in favor of longer songs with greater musical complexity. All this was done fairly successfully, as "Flesh and Blood" came of as a sincere, non-pretentious attempt for Poison to grow as artists.
"Native Tongue" sees Poison delve further into the bluesy ballad/anthem territory that made its mark on "Flesh and Blood." Gone, however, with the departure of Deville is the power-pop styling that defined the band's sound on their first three albums. Kotzen, a far more technically proficient guitarist, gives the album rapid-fire riffs and solos, far more complex than anything the band had seen before. Kotzen's writing on the album is apparent, as the band's level of musical sophistication increased significantly. Many of the band's key signature elements are still in place, however, such as strong harmonies and sing-along choruses.
The album's title track, "Native Tongue" is a short drum instrumental with effects, and sounds like theme music from "King Kong" setting the mood of the album. Injustice is addressed in "The Scream," a would-be arena anthem which makes for a great opening song. The album's first single and minor hit "Stand," written around the time of the L.A. riots, is another attempt to look at prejudice and inequality. A soft-spoken balled with force and a church choir, the song is ambitious and effective. The mid-tempo "Stay Alive," is a pretty good rocker that keeps up the momentum. One of the album's strongest songs "Until You Suffer Some (Fire and Ice)" is a balled that Bon Jovi could only dream of writing. The rocking "Body Talk" and "Bring it Home" are good, although the latter sounds a little flat. The album mixes it up a bit with "7 Days Over You," featuring a horn section, which works quite well. "Ritchie's Acoustic Thang" is a short instrumental that's pretty cool. Another very strong track "Ain't that the truth" is quite catchy and would have been a good choice to use as a single. The balled "Theatre of the Soul" sounds like a mature update of "Every Rose has its Thorn." "Strike up the band" sounds like a gritty remake of "Ride the Wind;" although not as good, it's still effective. "Ride Child Ride" is a good, if not great rocker. "Blind Faith," another more lyrically mature song about taking chances and having confidence, is another very strong song. The bluesy closing "Bastard Song of a Thousand Blues" is good, if not overly long.
Although "Native Tongue" was an earnest attempt to mature and stay relevant, the album unfortunately bombed. Kotzen was soon fired from the band for sleeping with drummer Rikki Rocket's girlfriend and the album was soon forgotten. Throughout most of the 90s "Native Tongue" sat in the cut-out bin next to Vince Neil's "Exposed," (1993) Motley Crue's self-titled (1994) album and David Lee Roth's "A Little Ain't Enough." Today the album is ignored by the band themselves, as they play only "Stand" live; and even then only occasionally.
While "Native Tongue" may not be a masterpiece, it's still a pretty good album, one that deserves to be heard. If you see a used copy lying around, give it a chance.
The best Poison album
Stargazer | New York | 03/03/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is Poison's 4 studio album and 5th album overall. This is my favorite of all of there albums. The lyrics are different and not as many of the songs focus on partying and girls. The album is bluesier than any other Poison album. This is the first album without C.C. Deville. The guitarist on this album is the then 20 year old Richie Kotzen who is an amazing virtuoso player who has a very unique style of playing.
1.Native Tongue- 8/10 A cool short simple drum intro. Nothing really goes on but I'll give it a 8 for what it is.
2.The Scream- 8/10 A cool song. This song reminds me of Lynch Mob. The chorus is good and really catchy. A great solo by Kotzen who plays a lot of bluesy licks and some great fast lines. A good song and it's much different from the Poison songs you hear on the radio.
3.Stand- 5/10 A decent acoustic song. This was Poison's last hit and the only hit off this album. Not a great song although Richie Kotzen's solo is excellent. I always skip this song.
4.Stay Alive- 7/10 Another good song. This song reminds me of Lynch Mob too. The chorus is good and Kotzen's solo is excellent too. Not a great song but it's enjoyable
5.Until You Suffer Some (Fire and Ice)- 10/10 A great power ballad. The chorus is great and the solo is great and is played with a lot of feel. I like this much better than there other ballads. One of my favorite Poison songs.
6.Body Talk- 10/10 A great party type song. The lyrics are like Poison's 80's albums unlike most of this album. The riff and chorus are catchy as hell too. An awesome short shredding guitar solo too. Another one of my favorite Poison songs.
7.Bring It Home- 9/10 A good song that reminds me of Still Of The Night by Whitesnake. A a good chorus and an excellent solo with both bluesy licks and sweep arpeggios.
8.7 Days over You- 7/10 A good song with a 60's/70's rock feel to it. The chorus is good and Kotzen's solo is excellent as always. Not one of the better songs but still a good song.
9.Richie's Acoustic Thang- 10/10 An amazing acoustic guitar solo. That is as technically impressive as Spanish Fly or Yngwie's acoustic playing in Dreaming. A great display of Richie's virtuosity.
10.Ain't That the Truth- 8/10 A great arena rock song. The riff and chorus are great and Richie Kotzen's solos is excellent. This song reminds me of the Def Leppard song Slang.
11.Theatre of the Soul- 9/10 Another power ballad. This is a good power ballad and the solo is excellent. Not as good as Until You Suffer Some but still a good ballad.
12.Strike up the Band- 10/10 A great 80's sounding song. The chorus is great and the layered vocals are awesome. This song reminds me of Nothing But A good Time.
13.Ride Child Ride- 10/10 Another great 80's sounding song. This song also reminds me of Nothing But A Good Time. The chorus and riff are excellent too. The solo is excellent too.
14.Blind Faith- 9/10 Another good song. The chorus is great and the riff is good too. The solo is one of the best on this album.
15.Bastard Son of a Thousand Blues- 7/10 A good song. This song is different from the other songs and features a harmonica. The song is very bluesy and sounds like 60's/70's rock. This song also has a piano solo.
I think this is by far Poison's best album. This is there most diverse album too. If you like Poison's other albums as well as bands like Lynch Mob and the other bluesy hair bands than I suggest you get this album.
Bret Michaels- Lead Vocals, Rythym Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Harmonica Richie Kotzen- Lead Guitar, Rythym Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Backing Vocals, Mandolin, Dobro, Piano Rikki Rockett- Drums, Backing Vocals, Percussion Bobby Dall- Bass, Backing Vocals"
J. Allred | Ontario, California | 08/01/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I love everything that this band has ever recorded. There is one exeption. Native Tongue, by far, exceeds any album ever written by this great band. I'm not saying that C.C. is not a great guitarist. Kotzen really lifted the band to a higher level of songwriting and maturity that disappeared when DeVille came back. This is without question, the best cd they have ever released!"