I follow Circus Magazine on Twitter. Every day they mention hard rock or metal albums that came out on the same day. And back on Nov 9, 1985, the following albums came out;
- Y&T – Down For The Count
- Dokken – Under Lock and Key
- Twisted Sister – Come Out And Play
- W.A.S.P – The Last Command
In Australia, we had to wait. A geographical windowed release is the business name for it. And it’s funny how the labels still want to revert to these kinds of releases for music in the digital world. They don’t like world-wide releases. Hell, one of the main drivers of piracy was windowed releases. Fans of music in other parts of the world, wanted access to new music on the same day, U.S fans had access to it.
One thing that is common across all four albums is the sequencing and how the albums flow.
TRACK 1 – The Killer Opening Track
“In The Name Of Rock” has a great riff to kick off the album about a kid who heard a guitar scream and he knew he wouldn’t be the same.
“Unchain The Night” musically is unbelievable, but Don Dokken’s lyrics of running around in circles and never crossing some line and then not wanting to touch someone and then never wanting to unchain the night.
Seriously, how much blow was Don doing?
And how can you chain the night up to then not wanting to unchain it.
“Come Out And Play” starts off with an ode to “The Warriors” movie before Dee starts telling people to not be afraid of the night as it builds into an anthem for the SMF’s to join the Twisted Sister cavalcade and enter the world TS made. It’s basically a speed metal song.
“Wild Child” is a classic. It’s a simple riff, it sounds massive and it builds nicely under the Em, D, C chord progression. And Blackie had a certain lyrical style that worked about riding winds that bring rain because he’s a wild child who needs to be loved.
The winner here is “Wild Child”.
TRACK 2 – The Relaxed Track
“All American Boy” is cool musically and lyrically it might have worked in the U.S but it didn’t really work in Australia. Then again, Bruce Springsteen sold 10 million plus by telling everyone he’s born in the U.S.A. So there goes that theory.
“The Hunter” is a cool track musically and lyrically.
“Leader of the Pack”. Next.
“Ballcrusher” is just one of those songs that’s a blast lyrically about a vicious voodoo woman who crushes balls and manages to skull all of his JD. Hell, Steel Panther has made a career of using lyrics like these.
The winner here is “The Hunter”
TRACK 3 – Meant To Be the Big Hit
“Anytime At All” is a cool melodic arena rock song about a woman who can call Dave anytime at all.
“In My Dreams” is also a cool melodic arena rock song about a relationship that still works in Don’s dreams but not in real life. I believe Jeff Pilson wrote the lyrics to this song, so they make way more sense than Don’s lyrics.
And that solo from Lynch, it’s like he knew this song was going to be a single so let’s put every melodic idea and technique into it. And it works.
“You Want What We Got” is a cool sing along arena rock song about a person called you, who wants something that Twisted Sister has got and because that person called “you” can’t have it, the person called “you” constantly puts them down.
“Fistful of Diamonds” musically sounds like it’s from The Rocky Horror Show. And how relevant are the lyrics about money and how people go crazy for it because they want it all.
The winner here is “In My Dreams”.
TRACK 4 – The Ballad Song or Experimental Song or We Don’t Know What to Do With Song
“Anything for Money” is good musically and let down by crap lyrics.
“Slippin’ Away” just doesn’t work for me.
“I Believe In Rock N Roll” is a great song, musically and lyrically. Hell, one of my first band names “Iron Fist” came from the lyrics. The best line is pledging allegiance to the United States of Rock. The pre-chorus sums up life about working hard and constantly being told what to do.
“Jack Action” musically is like “You Got Another Thing Comin”. Lyrically it’s a mess.
The winner here is “I Believe In Rock N Roll”.
TRACK 5 – The Killer Side 1 Closer
“Face Like An Angel” has a cool musical groove and a top notch lead break. Even the vocal melodies are good, but those lyrics “she’s got a face like an angel but the devils inside her again.” Seriously. What the?
“Lighthin’ Strikes Again” has awesome riffage, so musically it’s pretty strong and the vocal melodies are spot on as well. Lyrically, is it about lightning striking you for inspiration? I’m not sure, but I think it is. Anyway, the music is perfect.
“The Fire Still Burns” burned so bright that it spawned the extreme black metal scene of Europe. The song is a masterpiece that could rival thrash speed metal tunes. And the lyrics deal with the pain and anger in Dee’s brain to last a whole lifetime and how he can’t have peace of mind because the fire still burns.
I’m a big fan of the “Widowmaker” song. The whole intro sounds epic and when the whole band kicks in, it’s breaking desk time. It’s the only way to kick off a song about some entity that has roamed the desert plains for thousands of years.
The winner here is “The Fire Still Burns”.
TRACK 6 – The Killer Opening Track of Side 2
Track 6 is always the first track on SIDE B. So it had to be a strong one. Kids these days will not understand how sequencing an album was super important back in the day.
“Summertime Girls” I heard in a movie. I can’t remember if it was a Porky’s movie or one of those other 80’s flicks that mimicked the Porky’s formula. Anyway the movie is set in summer, girls are wearing very short shorts and it was perfect for the scene. It’s probably the reason why the song has remained a favourite. Then I heard it on the “Baywatch” TV series. So how can you not forget it?
The video clip to “It’s Not Love” remains with me because it reminded me of ACCA’s “Long Way To The Top”. The riffs grab me again and the lyrics work with the melodies.
“Be Chrool To Your Scuel” just didn’t work for me. And the zombie film clip got banned from MTV for being too violent and gore which didn’t help its cause.
“Blind In Texas” is your basic 12 bar blues drinking song. Blackie is very creative with his lyrics, referencing Texas towns.
The winner here is “Summertime Girls”.
TRACK 7 – The Song That Will Not Be Played Live
“Looks Like Trouble” is excellent musically. But I hate the lyrics about how Dave gave a woman his Ferrari and got no response, because he’s a fool in love who doesn’t know when to give up.
“Jaded Heart” rocks musically. And you know what, even the lyrics work, about a jaded heart that looks and can’t see the beauty of life in front of it.
“I Believe In You” is a ballad that actually has Don Dokken doing some ohhhs and ahhhhs during the Chorus. Lyrically it’s about looking for acceptance.
“Cries In The Night” is actually a pretty cool tune about a person hearing cries in the night that tell no lies.
The winner here is “Cries In The Night”.
TRACK 8 – The “Cover” Song or The “We Are Running Out Of Ideas” Song or The” Melodic Rock Song We Are Not Sure Our Fans Will Like”
I’m not a fan of “Your Mama Don’t Dance”. I didn’t even like Poison’s version. I was like, why would you cover that song. It’s a timestamp of an era and not relevant at all in the 80’s.
“Don’t Lie To Me” is a great melodic song, with a great harmony that mimic’s the vocal line and even the lyrics work.
“Out On The Streets” to me is a pretty cool melodic rock song and one of those TS songs that are forgotten.
For a title track, “The Last Command” is very different for WASP’s 1985 standards as it’s in a major key. Lyrically I believe it’s about the sounding of the seventh trumpet before the end begins.
The winner here is “Out On The Streets”.
TRACK 9 – The “We Ran Out Of Time” Song
Musically, “Don’t Tell Me What To Wear” feels like it’s a carbon copy of “Blackout” from Scorpions. Lyrically, it works for me, about a kid who likes to wear his blacks and is constantly told what to wear.
“Will the Sun Rise” is another classic that doesn’t get enough love. I also don’t mind the lyrics about setting sail to find new wonders and memories.
Musically, “Looking Out For Number 1” is a rewrite of “You Got Another Thing Comin”. Lyrically, Dee is re-using themes of a person doing what they want to do and living a life they want to live.
“Running Wild In The Streets” should be retitled running out of time.
The winner here is “Don’t Tell Me What To Wear”.
TRACK 10 – “The Killer Speed Metal Closer to Side 2” and Album” or “The Killer Epic Power Ballad Closer to Side 2 and Album”
“Hands Of Time” closes the album and that palm muted harmony guitar riff just blows my mind for how massive it sounds and how simple it is to play.
“Till The Livin End” is basically a speed metal song and that is the beauty of Dokken that I liked. They could be metal, hard rock, blues rock, pop rock and speed metal all on one album.
“Kill Or Be Killed” is also a speed metal song about fighting the good fight, throwing punches in the name of rock first and asking questions later.
“Sex Drive” is basically a re-write of “Blind Of Texas” and “Fistful Of Diamonds”. A big miss here to close the album with a killer tune.
The winner here is “Till The Livin End”.
TRACK 11 – The Bonus Track
“King Of The Fools” is probably the best power ballad from Twisted Sister about how stardom, while great, is also pretty lonely and frightful because people are now looking at you to lead them.