Wednesday, January 9, 2013
"Come Out and Play" by Twisted Sister (1985)
View the Premise & Ground Rules for Revisiting Vinyl
Filed Between: Stanley Turrentine and Bonnie Tyler
"Do you take this music to be your lawfully wedded rock?"
My Overall Rating of the Tracks Separately:
Don't bother. Seriously, don't bother (unless you need a good laugh).
The liner notes are emblazoned with the following gigantic, all-caps text: "PLAY IT LOUD, MUTHA!" And that's about as subtle as "Come Out and Play" gets. If Alice Cooper were from New Jersey and had been kicked in the head by a mule as a child, he would be Dee Snider.
Twisted Sister and their label apparently felt very strongly about Be Crool to Your Schuel (it was a single) - so strongly in fact that they recruited these people to play on it: Alice Cooper - backing vocals, Brian Setzer - guitar, Billy Joel - piano, Clarence Clemons - sax. Are you shitting me?! Little Steven didn't have that many stars singing on Sun City. And the truly sad thing is, it's a terrible, terrible song. They were clearly expecting another We're Not Gonna Take It; they made something that gets put in paper bags on front porches and set on fire.
"Come Out and Play" also contains what has to be the most bizarre, confused cover song of all time. IF John Mayer decided to remake I Kissed a Girl, it wouldn't be half as absurd as Sister's version of Leader of the Pack. Yes, THAT Leader of the Pack. Only since they're dudes (I think), they had to flip all the hims and hers around, so now it gets told from the leader of the pack's point of view. Yes, THAT leader of the pack. Had they never heard this song before? Did nobody bother to mention to them that the leader of the pack eats it in a fiery crash and dies before the third verse? Their solution was to flip it around at that point and make HER die in the crash because SHE's actually the leader of the pack (even though she clearly wasn't for the first two verses). I'll give you a minute to digest that. And that's exactly how much sense it makes. But again, they must have really thought they had lightning in a bottle here because this was yet another single.
Everything on "Come Out and Play" reeks of confusion and self-denial of Ed Wood proportions. Most of the choruses are a single line that repeats over and over to varying degrees. The lyric sheet describes these repetitions as ranging from "a lot" to "forever." There's never one relevant thing said, but it's all delivered like it's new Gospel.
The sad thing is, Dee Snider clearly had a lot to say at this point. "Come Out and Play" was released after his famous battle with the PMRC which culminated in a speech to a congressional subcommittee where he talked about the importance of artistic freedom and the pitfalls of personal interpretation of the works of others. (Those concepts alone are far more interesting and intelligent than any moment on this LP.) But "Come Out and Play" never hits on any of that - except for maybe the inane and virtually incomprehensible I Believe in Rock 'n Roll and the (misleading) warning on the back label that indicates the record has been rated "H" for humorous content.
So, is it an album? No. It's a mess.
Up next, we check an LP titled "II" that's NOT by Led Zeppelin. Dang. Instead, we let it ride with Bachman-Turner Overdrive.