Four albums by hair metal bands that were shockingly good

These four albums are still surprisingly listenable.

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The term "hair metal" can definitely bring about different connotations. One either loves the subgenre or hates it or loves to hate it or hates to love it. There really is no gray area. There are only a lot of guitar solos, high-voiced lyrics, and, of course, hair.

To be fair, I was around when all the following albums were released. I was not a fan of any of them as my adoration for the Dead Kennedys and Bad Brains would certainly have not allowed me to like poppy metal that seemed clownish. But over the years, I learned that I was wrong to dislike some hair metal albums because I never gave the music a chance to be what it was meant to be: Relatively mindless fun.

A bit like a musical soap opera about drugs and love and love of drugs but with an ever-present wry smile attached. That many hair metal bands seemed to take themselves a bit too seriously may have been part of the joke: They did so almost unintentionally. But there was good music throughout it all, including these four fantastic albums.

Four hair metal albums that are still worth listening to

Lita Ford - Lita (1988)

The Runaways certainly had a bit of talent, didn't they? Lita Ford and Joan Jett went their separate ways, of course, but if you look up the great many examples of women who rock, Ford and Jett would be listed. This particular solo album was Ford's third and her best. She even had a bit of help from friends in making the record such as Nikki Sixx, Lemmy Kilmister, and Ozzy Osbourne. Heck, Sharon Osbourne was Ford's manager at the time.

Ozzy and Ford collaborated on the ballad "Close My Eyes Forever" and the track turned out to be Osbourne's only top-ten single in his career. The pair even co-wrote the track together though Osbourne could never perform the tune live with Ford because apparently he could never remember the lyrics.

But the best track on the album was "Kiss Me Deadly." Sure, the song was also the biggest hit of Ford's career but the track was worthy. Catchy chorus, great guitar work by Ford, and bouncing synths? It was like a cross between emo and heavier and happier pop.