"Two years after their debut album Look What the Cat Dragged In firmly secured metal's place atop the pop charts, Poison came back for more with 1988's Open Up and Say... Ahh!
Open Up and Say... Ahh! isn't that far removed from the band's debut album. This is a pretty straightforward rock album full of party anthems and power ballads, all of which focus on Bret and the boys' efforts to sleep with every eligible female in sight. Poison definitely took the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" approach with this album.
It may not have been that inventive, but it's hard to argue with the results. This is the album that made Poison superstars, not to mention one of the decade's top selling artists. Songs like "Fallen Angel" and "Nothin' But a Good Time" were pretty big hits, but the power ballad "Every Rose Has It's Thorn" was a monster hit, and seemed to play every hour on the radio in 1988-89.
The 2006 reissue of Open Up and Say... Ahh! gives the album a much needed tune-up. The album has been digitally remastered and the sound quality is as good as anything released today. They also added two bonus tracks. The first is an upbeat rocker called "Livin' for the Minute" and the second is an old 10-minute audio interview with the band. It would have been nice if they had included the KISS cover (Rock & Roll All Nite) that appeared on the Less Than Zero (1987 Film) soundtrack, but just having the remastered sound is good enough for me."
Nothin' but a good time indeed...
Daniel Maltzman | Arlington, MA, USA | 08/05/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"After achieving almost overnight success with their debut album "Look What the Cat Dragged In," (1986) Pennsylvania's Poison returned two years later with their sophomore release "Open Up and Say Ahh!" (1988).
Much like any Poison album, upon its release most critics hated, hated, hated the album. But Poison aren't Elvis Costello; Poison has always been a band of the people rather than the darling of the critics. And the people spoke. "Open Up and Say Ahh!" was another huge smash for the band, selling more than eight million copies world-wide, yielding several hit singles/videos and radio/concert staples.
Compared to the punky/glam styling of the debut, "Open Up and Say Ahh!" is more meat-and-potatoes. The total over-the-top outrageousness and quirkiness that made "Look What the Cat Dragged In" so much fun is eschewed, in favor of making a KISS/Van Halen-esque, AOR friendly stadium-rock album. This ultimately worked in the band's favor as they avoided remaking the same album yet came up with another solid collection of songs, moving the band forward.
Like most albums of its type, "Open Up and Say Ahh!" is based upon having a few songs that will be the hits and padding them with filler. Even if one is completely unfamiliar with the album, the singles are obvious; the (light-weight) head-banging "Nothin' but a Good Time," the lush "Fallen Angel," the power-balled to end all power-ballads, "Every Rose has its Thrown," and a song that's already a hit, a cover of "Your Mamma Don't Dance."
However, even if the aforementioned songs are what the album is sold on, the rest of the album is still pretty strong, even if it is just "filler." The opening "Love on the Rocks" is rocking and has proven to be a regular concert staple. "Back to the Rocking Horse" is melodic and infectious while the rest of the album isn't too shabby either. While C.C. Deville may never be put on Rolling Stone's list of the world's all-time greatest guitarists, the dude is more than capable of churning out tasty riffs and solos. Singer Brett Michel's charisma is infectious, making it hard not to rock along with his songs. As for Bobby Dall (bass) and Rikki Rocket (drums)...ahh, they can play...
Some causal fans may not want to buy this album as they can pick up the hits on one of the band's compilation albums, the most recent being "The Best of Poison: 20 Years of Rock." However, if you are more than a causal fan or are really into 80s rock in general; pick up "Open Up and Say Ahh!" as most of the non-hit, "filler" songs are still quite strong.
The 2006 remastered edition is a huge improvement over the original CD, with a much crisper, clearer sound. The bonus tracks include "Livin' for the Minute" and the world-premier interview. While "Livin' for the Minute" may not be a lost classic, it's still a fun song and should please most fans. The interview is also pretty cool and helps put the whole album in perspective.
An additional comment about the album's cover: The remastered edition features the original cover, a sort of man-lion with a huge phallic-like tongue. Deemed offensive, this cover has not been imprint since 1988 when the album was first released. It's amazing how standards of decency have changed in the last twenty or so years. A cover like that wouldn't raise an eye-brow today. "
Great sound, mediocre bonus material
Glenn | Stockton, CA USA | 11/19/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"As others have noted, the remastered sound is really good, and makes the purchase worth it. The bonus song is fine, but not more. The "world premiere interview" is really lame though. There's nothing "premiere" about it -- it's just some replay of an interview from the time of the album's release with *a lot* of the album music included under the voices. I didn't hear anything that wasn't just the usual rock star marketing b.s. I would have preferred an actual premiere interview, maybe some new commentary from the band or something. Also, who releases a big remaster without liner notes or recollections or interesting anecdotes? Poison, apparently. As I said, if you're a Poison fan, buy this for the sound of the remastered tracks."
My favorite album from the 80's.
Jonathan Weller | Chambersburg, Pennsylvania | 05/14/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Poison expolded onto the rock scene in 1986 with their hit record, Look What The Cat Dragged In. Following it up with Open Up And Say....Ahh, poison catipulted to the top of the rock world.
Poison smashed a grand slam with this release. Every song on this record is a winner, even the so-called filler tracks are awesome. The monster hit on this record was Every Rose Has It's Thorn, it shot to number one, and had every bad boy reaching for his soft side. Other big-cuts from this album are Fallen Angel, Nothin' But A Good Time, and Your Mama Can't Dance.
In 2006, this record was given a much overdue remastering, and it sounds terrific. It even comes with a bonus cut, and 10 minute interview with the guys. My only quip with this album is, I wish they would have included, Face the Hangman, and Rock 'n' Roll all night. Besides those minor complaints, the album sounds better than ever, and still remains my favorite till this day!!"