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Articles Home » 1986 Articles » Ratt - 1986 Dancing Undercover
Ratt - 1986 Dancing Undercover

ALBUM: Dancing Undercover
LABEL: Atlantic
SERIAL: 81683-1
YEAR: 1986
CD REISSUE: 1990, Atlantic, 81683-2


LINEUP: Stephen Pearcy - vocals * Warren DeMartini - guitars * Robbin Crosby - guitars * Juan Croucier - bass * Bobby Blotzer - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Dance * 02 One Good Lover * 03 Drive Me Crazy * 04 Slip Of The Lip * 05 Body Talk * 06 Looking For Love * 07 7th Avenue * 08 It Doesn't Matter * 09 Take A Chance * 10 Enough Is Enough


If anyone had thought 1984's triple platinum, top ten 'Out Of The Cellar' was a fluke, then the further top ten placing of 1985 follow up 'Invasion Of Your Privacy' helped Ratt prove doubters wrong. Ratt had risen to arena level performers and rivalled fellow hard rock/metal contemporaries like Motley Crue for North American supremacy of an ever burgeoning scene. 'Dancing Undercover' was their fourth album in successive years (counting 1983's 'Ratt E.P.) and continued in the same vein as its predecessors, with an even balance of hard rock with hints of metal. It didn't chart as well, only hitting no 26, but single 'Dance' fared reasonably, reaching no 59.

The Songs
Ratt's main problem, as would prove to be for the duration of their 1984-90 heyday, was the inconsistency of their material. The mixture of instantly memorable tracks mixed with inexcusable filler was glaringly noticeable here, more so than on 'Invasion'. Side one is five perfect pieces of hard rock, evidenced by 'Dance' and its naughty chorus, a Ratt trait obviously. The use of metal riffs combined with commercial hooks works well with 'One Good Lover' and the non-stop, breathless excitement of 'Drive Me Crazy', an obscure Ratt classic. Blotzer adds some bombastic quality to the latter and Pearcy is at his raunchy best. 'Slip Of The Lip' typified Ratt's sex driven choruses and the metallic approach of 'Body Talk' confirmed both as Ratt favourites, later to be featured on the '81-91' retrospective in 1991. Side two features no definitive material making this an album of two halves indeed. 'Looking For Love' is the pick of the bunch, simply because of it's sheer heaviness, but '7th Avenue', 'It Doesn't Matter' 'Take A Chance' and 'Enough Is Enough' lapse into boredom, with nothing infectious about any of them. Indeed I recall nodding off in my car to these once, eyes barely flickering! None of the hooks stick out, leading one to think that the better tracks should have been evenly spread more.

In Summary
The audiences were still buying however, and Ratt managed to maintain a position near the top of the LA hierarchy. Bon Jovi, who had opened for Ratt, soon left them behind with 'Slippery When Wet' and following this Ratt seemed decidedly second division, even if 1988's 'Reach For The Sky' was another worthy effort, 'only' going gold however. In an interview conducted before he died, Robbin Crosby admitted things went downhill immediately following 'Out Of The Cellar', and that little effort was put into producing really strong albums. That could explain the inconsistency that plagues 'Dancing Undercover', a showcase of a band who when they wanted were easily among the best of their kind, but at their laziest, came frustratingly short of the mark.

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#1 | jeffrey343 on August 30 2011 04:17:12
I'll agree that some of these songs have better hooks than others, but I don't consider anything on here to be filler. I'd take "filler" from any RATT album over most other hard rock songs. I've been listening to a lot of RATT lately, and I had forgotten just how well they did their thing. The execution is superb - Pearcy has just the right sound, the guitar sound is spot on, Croucier is a fine bass player, and Blotz pounds the hell out of the skins. And they don't screw around with the songs. Sure, not every song can be as awesome as their top hits. But to me, on a five-star rating scale, nothing on this album comes close to falling below four stars. There are good riffs and good solos throughout.

I did see RATT and Bon Jovi in concert at this time, with YandT opening for Bon Jovi opening for RATT, and Bon Jovi put on the best show of the three by far. This was right before "Slippery When Wet", so they had not hit the big time yet.
#2 | super80boy on December 20 2015 00:10:40
Dancing Undercover unfortunately got caught up with bad timing. By the mid 80's there was an insurgence of other more candied up pop metal outfits vying for attention, like their once opening band Poison. Ratt was falling behind the competition as this album was being released and marketed. The album hits the right cylinders on a number of fronts. As mentioned above, Side A's five songs are consistently well crafted infectious cuts. Side B starts out with album standout 'Looking For Love', which delivers a perfect mix of hard rock and pop metal sheen. The remainder stands up well in the consistency department, though not quite as good as Side A. It's nitpicking, but spreading out the three album singles would have added more positive vibes.
#3 | gdazegod on December 20 2015 02:10:48
Ratt's first three: (EP), OOTC and IOYP are must haves for your collection.
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