I Had Higher Hopes for Skid Row’s Debut Album | Album Review

When I first got into rock music back in 2018, Skid Row was one of the many bands that were added to my Spotify playlist. Once I started my CD collection last year, I knew I had to have the band’s debut album because 1) I was familiar with hit singles and 2) I liked the album cover. After another trip to Hungry Ear Records in Kakaʻako, I purchased the band’s self-titled Skid Row (1989) album on March 19, 2021. The line-up on the album consists of Sebastian Bach on lead vocals, Dave Sabo and Scotti Hill on guitars and backing vocals, Rachel Bolan on bass and backing vocals, and Rob Affuso on drums and percussion. With all that said, let’s get on with the music!

“Big Guns” kicks off the album and it took me a second not to get it confused with AC/DC’s “Big Gun,” but I eventually got into it. Bach has a screaming vocal style on this track and he doesn’t overdo it, which I appreciate. I hate singers that scream songs entirely to a point where it sounds like they’re damaging their voice. I also enjoyed the screeching guitar solo. 

“Sweet Little Sister” is a bit chaotic. Bach is singing so fast that I can barely understand the lyrics, which some of them are stupid. “She got her hands in the cookie jar / Smiling like an alligator / Makin’ headlines in the back of her car / Tight-lipped now but sink ships later.” It’s a short song, but it’s not short enough. Dude, why wasn’t “Can’t Stand the Heartache” a single? It’s commercial, it has the cheesiest title I’ve ever heard of, the chorus is catchy, it has a screeching guitar solo, and it’s got a good beat!

I really like “Piece of Me” because it makes me feel bada**! My only complaint is that it’s a bit short as it’s under three minutes, but it’s better than being too long. “Piece of Me” has a toughness to it and it’s perfect to play during a street fight. I like the story of “18 and Life,” but I would’ve preferred the drums not come in so soon. It’s just guitars, bass, and vocals from the first line to the middle of the second line, “Lived nine to five and worked his fingers to the bone” and then the drums come in. That’s just a small complaint; the overall vibe is powerful and the guitar solo hits a whole different level.

It’s hard not to compare Skid Row’s “Rattlesnake Shake” with Mötley Crüe’s “Rattlesnake Shake” because both songs came from albums that were released in the same year. Honestly, I like Mötley Crüe’s song better. The chorus is catchy and it features a horn section. I’d like Skid Row’s song more if it had a better chorus. “Shake, shake, shake it like a rattlesnake / Boom, boom baby out go the lights / Shake, shake, shake it like a rattlesnake / Staying up late doing the rattlesnake shake.” It makes it seem like the rattlesnake shake is an actual dance routine (and not a good one).

“Youth Gone Wild” is fun and has a feel-good chorus! Can’t complain much about this one, unless I hear it a thousand times more unwillingly. I love the rhythm section in “Here I Am.” Besides the guitars going nuts, the drummer sounds like he’s having a good time and the bass player is keeping a solid groove with an understated riff. “Makin’ a Mess” is very fast-paced, so I can barely understand the lyrics. I have to be in a certain mood to like fast-paced and chaotic songs like that. 

How did Skid Row go from “You’re better off dead than makin’ a mess of me” to “Love letters in the sands”? “I Remember You” is too happy and lovey dovey for my taste, then again, I listen to Bon Jovi. But, Bach even sings more sweetly in this song as opposed to others. Where’s the toughness and screams he had on the first track? “Midnight/Tornado” closes the album on a high note, and the band returns to their rough and rowdy sound. 

So, I enjoyed 8 out of the 11 songs (“Rattlesnake Shake” and “Makin’ a Mess” got half points), which is about 73 percent. With that in mind, I’ll give Skid Row a rating of 3.65 out of 5 stars. Not too bad, but not that good either. Was I a bit harsh on them because I’m jealous of Sebastian Bach’s hair? Who knows!

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19 thoughts on “I Had Higher Hopes for Skid Row’s Debut Album | Album Review

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    1. Yep, Spotify helped out a bit too with shoving “Youth Gone Wild” and “18 and Life” in my face! Heavy Metal Overload says he likes ‘Slave to the Grind’ more too, so now I’m really curious about it.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. True story Lana…
    saw Skid Row 5 times live from 1989 to 1992..
    Opened for Bon Jovi -1989
    Opened for Aerosmith twice Jan and March 1990
    Open for Guns N Roses May 1991
    and SR headlined here in Tbay June 1992…

    They got on some major tours I tell ya back than.

    Liked by 1 person

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