Danko Jones once told me that the best way to pick a single for radio is to get a bunch of girls to do it. Sound thinking, and with that in mind it’s very clear that estrogen was on tap the day Sony braintrust decided they would release both suck-ass ballads from Warrant’s debut, Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich. People blame the rise of grunge for shoving metal to the back of the bus for most of the ’90s, but it was in fact Warrant and their keepers that did the deed. I seem to recall the crap little ditty ‘Down Boys’ – which sounded like Poison’s chess club geek brother – as the album’s first single, and while it got the band name out there I don’t think the song or video did anything more than burn frontman Jani Lane’s peroxided melon into the collective groupie consciousness. Second single, the cheeseball ballad ‘Heaven’ exploded and it was the beginning of the end of everything hard rocking posers held dear. Couldn’t get away from the damn video, cover bands smart enough to insert the thing into their sets were guaranteed to get some, and the whole idea of hair bands doing anything more than singing flowery high school dance pop crap became taboo. Nope, the labels suddenly wanted ballads, the schmaltzier and panty-removinger the better. Of course, it didn’t help that with the exception of the track ‘Big Talk’ – and we’re talking three quarters into a bottle of red wine with a beer chaser exception – the supposedly heavier songs on DRFSR had no backbone. The arrangements were square, the performances were uneventful to the point of boredom, and the production was so thin you could blow your nose with it. But, the album did it’s job and set Warrant up for the infamous Cherry Pie record… which would have been decent if not for the pop-anthem title track running amok and doing heads in everywhere (listening to it now… good gawdawful). I’ve gotta admit, though, when the guys worked outside the box marked “Top 40” years later (or better said, when they were allowed to…) they actually had something resembling balls, particularly on their brutally underrated third album from 1992, Dog Eat Dog. My inner poser loves that one. How this one ended up in my collection is anybody’s guess, but it was probably a girl’s fault.
Fave tracks: Not!