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Articles Home » 2003 Articles » Michaels, Bret - 2003 Songs Of Life
Michaels, Bret - 2003 Songs Of Life

Bret Michaels - vocals, guitar
Cliff Calabro - guitar, bass, drums
Christy Calabro - guitar, bass
Mark Castrillon - guitar
Jeremy Rubolino - bass
Reynaldo Felico - drums

Currently out and about with Poison as part of their yearly summer US tour, Bret Michaels recently released this, his second solo album proper to coincide with Poison's annual jaunt, presumably to raise awareness of its existence and shift a few copies. As the album title suggests the songs are based on experiences Michaels has endured in his eventful life, although the album cover could have been more lively than the routine and generic outlay chosen, just a photo of Michaels and some plain lettering. It's worse than it sounds. The music however is more inviting, energetic hard rock which should please Poison fans, especially those who were letdown by the almost anonymous 'Hollyweird' of 2002, an MIA album if ever there was one. According to Michaels 'Songs Of Life' is 'a straight up rock record', an accurate description by the actual artist for once!

The Songs
There's massive pop-punk overtones inhabiting 'Menace To Society' a rabble rousing start, with a brattish tone in Michaels vocals and the guitar sound, harmless all the same. This atmosphere pervades 'Bittersweet', which favours a modern rock sound musically and vocally, something Green Day might be proud of, just listen to Michaels snort 'Jack came over to aplogise' for certification. 'Raine' is an ode to Michaels daughter of the same name, a sentimental piece obviously, that sees Bret sounding uncannily like Jon Bon Jovi, only with more melody than that punster's been offering lately. More in line with Poison is 'Loaded Gun', a slab of hard rock straight from 1990 on the basis of the chorus, a right trip back in time. Sadly Michaels resumes his obnoxious punk delivery during 'Strange Sensation', it doesn't suit him, he'd be better off pursuing the near AOR direction of 'Ride The Wind' that Poison toyed with on 'Flesh And Blood'. What does hark back to that era is the acoustic 'One More Day' sounding like'Something To Believe In', only more stripped down and bare boned. Quite heavy is 'The Chant' (lasting a whole minute) with a driving riff, followed by the mindless good time shenanigans of 'It's My Party', indeed party rock for the new millenium. Sadly 'War Machine' isn't a Kiss cover, instead Michaels take on media overkill through war, once again adopting the punk drawl, overshadowing a quite savage guitar break.

In Summary
Regardless of the directions Michaels has opted for (modern, traditional hard rock), this is a convincing effort which doesn't take itself overly seriously and allows Michaels to maintain his 80's persona while shifting into new territory with relative ease. Unlike many 80's hard rockers Michaels has a certain degree of respectability with the press in the US, perhaps through his muscular image (literally) and that Poison are still able to sell out large scale tours, unlike nearly all their one time friends and foes. An easy recommendation for lovers of melodic hard rock.

Track Listing:
01 Menace to Society
02 Bittersweet
03 Raine
04 Forgiveness
05 Loaded Gun
06 Strange Sensation
07 Songs of Life
08 One More Day
09 Remember
10 The Chant
11 It's My Party
12 War Machine

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