Four albums by hair metal bands that were shockingly good

These four albums are still surprisingly listenable.

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Poison - Look What the Cat Dragged In (1986)

If the original intention of Poison was to sound like a cross between Southern rock and Led Zeppelin then something went far astray with the creation and recording of Poison's songs. I am fairly certain Jimmy Page would eschewed any offer to listen to Poison and seen it for what it might have appeared to him: A bubble-gum pop, Monkees-type mimic of heavier rock and roll.

That might seem as if I am dismissing Poison altogether and that is not my intent. They might have wanted to be Zeppelin, but the fluff they gave us still ended up being mostly fun. Lots of other bands have failed to be Plant and Page as well and never had any kind of worth; Poison, even accidentally, did.

The glitter may have helped. The band turned out to be much more glam than maybe even they wanted, but they were the pretty version of '80s Kiss. Neither group at the time was recreating the wheel, but at least Poison managed the make the car sonically sound. And their debut album was an indie-label release that was much better than likely anyone expected.

"Talk Dirty to Me" is fantastically silly but heck if you can't help singing along. "I Want Action" seemed only slightly dangerous but enough to make the parents unhappy and that would have been key. The "baby" part of the "I Won't Forget You" chorus will likely always be stuck in your head. Heck, the band even recorded a demo of Jim Croce's (and no, I am not making this up) "You Don't Mess Around with Jim." It's wretched but at least it proved the band had higher hopes of what they would become instead of just fun of vinyl.

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