VARIOUS ARTISTS – Hollywood Hairspray vol. 2


Perris Records
Release Date: July 1, 2003

User Review
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If ‘80s metal is truly on the comeback — as is evinced by the recent tours of bands like Dokken, Warrant, Pretty Boy Floyd, and two different versions of Ratt — then Perris Records is ahead of the times, retroactively speaking. If this type of music comes back to the forefront, then Perris is going to hit a gold mine, instead of getting the shaft, so to speak. And they have a recent compilation CD called Hollywood Hairspray vol. 2 to give us a taste of WHY ‘80s metal may be here to stay.

The CD is 16 tracks long, with many artists you have heard of (Enuff Z’Nuff, Pretty Boy Floyd, Jetboy, Nitro) and some you probably have not (Parlor Trixx, Mother Mercy, Sinn, Grandma Moses). Not surprisingly, the best songs on this CD are the ones by bands that have actually reached some sort of notoriety in the past, and it all starts off with Enuff Z’Nuff.

Enuff Z’ Nuff released a recent CD on Perris called Welcome to Blue Island, and if you haven’t read the Metal Express review, please do. The CD is one of the great rock CDs of the summer, and everyone should give it a try. Their offering on Hollywood Hairspray vol. 2 starts the ball rolling, with a song called “No Place to Go.” This is a strong tune, with low-key vocals, but musically the song is harder than their average fare, and it is an excellent way to start off the CD. Enuff Z’ Nuff is incapable of writing a BAD tune, anyway, which is more than you can say for some bands.

Up next is Pretty Boy Floyd with “Groovy Love.” If you’ve read any reviews of Pretty Boy Floyd, they are supposed to be insane live, with more energy than their age belies. Their main problem is that they never could quite pen a strong tune, and it bites them in the ass here as well. Lead singer Steve Summers has an OK voice, but it doesn’t translate as well in the studio as it apparently does live. Anyway, it’s your average ‘80s happy-metal song.

“Feel the Shake!” was Jetboy’s one hit, and you’ll find them doing “White Rock Devil” here. The production on this whole CD could use a little help, but barring that, this song rips. Jetboy had that goofy white-blond mohawked lead singer, if you can recall, and it’d be interesting to see what he looks like today. He can still sing though, and this song is bluesy, melodic, and also fairly hard. Jetboy liked to emphasize drums and bass, and do a good job of it here. This is one of the highlights on Hollywood Hairspray vol. 2 for sure.

Up next is Nitro’s “B.O.M.B.”, with vocalist Jim Gillette who bragged how he could scream and shatter glass. Yippee. Thankfully, his voice is mostly toned down here, and the guitar here is the best playing you find under all the hairspray. It’s pure ‘80s, with banshee screams and wailing guitars.

After the first few songs, you start getting to bands you may never have heard of. Heaven starts off the lesser-known band party with an AC/DC inspired track “HOT.” Everything about this song yells AC/DC, and therefore, it’s a damn fine one. Besides Enuff Z’Nuff, this is the best song on Hollywood Hairspray vol. 2.

Cherry St. does everything right to begin with by naming their song “Whiskey,” and you will swear this is Britney Fox once you hear the vocals. This is a completely vapid drinking song, not nearly as good as any Love/Hate song, but it is fun.

But, ‘80s bands went away for a reason, and you’ll hear why with some of the other bands. Take Parlor Trixx for instance. Don’t put two XXs in your name. If you think adding an X makes it dirtier, then name one person who would rather see a XX movie compared to a XXX movie. Get it? And with lyrics like, “Step in my parlor, you are all invited, it’s not far from home. And don’t forget to bring your sister, don’t wanna miss the show,” it makes you wanna miss this show. At least the vocals are good on this one.

“I’m a hip motherfucker!” What? The band Fatal Smile starts off their song with that comment, and then jump into an embarrassing song that sounds like the vocals are a mixture of EZO’s and Gorky Park’s singers. In other words, not good. Also, he says he’s a hip motherfucker because “I just know what I want.” Huh.

You’ll get a few more obscure bands at the end, with Mother Mercy, Supergroupies and Sinn, and when you hear lyrics like “she’s only 16, and I’m gonna make her mine,” from Sinn, you might as well take the CD out. It’s not worth your time.

Lost in all of this boozy, statutory rape drug induced music is Christian artist Ken Tamplin doing “The Story of Love.” Tamplin is talented, and while this isn’t the best song on Hollywood Hairspray vol. 2, it definitely adds some much needed class.

So, you’ll get an amalgam of everything that was good and bad with ‘80s metal here. The first 8 tracks are worth listening to, and you’ll get 8 that if you never hear, then you didn’t miss anything. Fans of ‘80s metal will more than enjoy Hollywood Hairspray vol. 2, and it’s probably worth your coin for the Enuff Z’Nuff track alone.

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