First Off….I think Mr. Krumrey’s review was excellent ( I wish more reviews were that comprehensive and well thought out ), secondly if I could have given 4 1/2 stars I would have but I try to reserve the five stars for…well the “perfect” album. I guess this would be classified a comeback album but seeing as how it is actually from the mid 90’s that probably not what they (Poison) would want to call it. Hopefully they can keep up the momentum they are sure to gain from this album….As far as the album goes … wow what an excellent guitar album, Very good change of pace with the ballads and as has been stated earlier some scant humor (with the soundbites at the beginning and the end of a few songs); normally I would not like that kind of stuff but on this album it works. As many reviewers have pointed out prior to this review this is basically a straight-ahead Rock-n-Roll album (tuff to find these days). If you like Poison you’ll love this album…and even if you are just a casual fan of the group (like myself) you’ll still get a great deal of pleasure from this CD. It’s nice to see all the extra’s thrown in too (tracks 13 thru 20). Hopefully they can come out with some new stuff….but from the looks of their website (C.C. Deville tied up in trunk- because he did not want to tour?) they may be following the same pattern as other 80’s rockers such as Ratt and Motley Crue in that, after years of being together (and then breaking up) they just can’t seem to get along when they do get back together. Oh well, enjoy.
Poison fans will love this: unapologetic, full-on raunch ’n roll and tongue-in-cheek power ballads. Crack a Smile consists of 12 tracks of unrequited glam-punk, including a drunken late-night rendition of Dr Hook’s ”Cover of the Rolling Stone” and the anthemic ”Best Thing You Ever Had.” And the More! offers bonus outtakes, the B-sides, and the self-deprecating ”Tragically Unhip.” All this, plus four of Poison’s top 10 singles, as recorded live on MTV’s Unplugged in 1990. The highlight? The heavy, albeit acoustic version of ”Unskinny Bop,” replete with screaming girls and loose harmonies. –Everett True
Forum Topics See All →
There are no active forum topics for this Metal Album
Metal Album Reviews[RSS]
I’ve been a Poison fan forever, and I can honestley say that this is easily their best Cd I’ve listened to. It’s packed with excellent tunes. I saw them live this year in support of the “Power To The People” release, and they didn’t play one single song from “Crack A Smile….”…..needless to say I was angry about that. On “Crack…..”, CC was not with the band. That is what makes this CD so good in my opinion. The guitar playing on this is awesome….he completely blows away anything CC has done off the stage. I’ve never heard Poison sound better…..ever!! Probably wont ever again.Easily their best CD…..hands down!!!
This is by far Poison’s best album to date. They seemed to grow up with every album they did, and Crack A Smile builds upon the bluesy feel of some of the songs on Flesh and Blood. It’s definitely a different sound than they had with CC as the axeman (less of the traditional glam rock guitar riffs). So, if you’re a die-hard of the ‘Nothin But a Good Time’ sound, you may not like this album quite as much as their older stuff. Although, you can check out ‘Face the Hangman’ which was from the ‘Open Up…’ sessions.Bret’s usual energy is displayed from the first track, and ‘Best Thing You Ever Had’ has become my personal favorite all-time Poison song. ‘Be The One’ is the token power ballad, and while its no ‘Every Rose…’, it’s a good song. ‘Sexual Thing’ and ‘Lay Your Body Down’ were included on Swallow This, so they’re nothing new. ‘Cover of the Rolling Stone’ is a catchy remake that had me singing it to myself for weeks after I heard it.The rest of the songs are pretty good as well, and they fit with the bluesy tone of the album. It seems that Bret is more comfortable with this style of music now that he’s progressing in years, and personally, I’m fine with that. I wish they’d bring back Blues and retire CC for good. Regardless, this is a great album, and I’d highly recommend it.
The Big 3 of the 80’s (Def Leppard, Bon Jovi, Poison) were plenty poised and primed to continue their commercial and artistic success into the 90’s. Bon Jovi had no problem, Def Leppard stumbled commercially but maintained a good deal of fans, and Poison, with their hit single of ‘92 ‘Stand’ was set to make their future mark as a serious, talented blues-based rock band. This never was, however. ‘Crack a Smile’, upon original recording in ‘94, was never released. (Until now). One listen to this album and you may know why. It’s not a sellout attempt to be angry and grungy, like so many other 80’s bands tried, it’s not a tone-down to adult-contempo level a la Bon Jovi, rather, Poison, for the most part, stays the same. There’s still headlong party anthems, still stellar, over the top guitar playing, and plenty of harmonies. In other words, it’s Poison, but they’ve grown up, and this record is sheer fun the entire way through. It’s not as pretentious as ‘Flesh and Blood’ or as silly as their first two albums. It just plain rocks. Poison’s transition to incorporating blues into their sound (starting with Native Tounge) works to the fullest here, showcased to the fullest on the excellent opening track ‘Best thing you ever Had’. From there, this album rocks, but it’s also quite humorous, repeadetly slamming the music industry of 1994, making fun of Kurt Cobain, the cynical record companies and turncoat fans, as well as poking fun at Bret Michael’s own misbegotten porn flick with Pam Anderson (Pre Tommy Lee). Throughout, there’s the occasional ballad but they’re not overblown or histronic, they’re well thought and well-executed. The lyrics are the best Poison’s ever written, hands down. Blues Saraceno (CC DeVille’s temporary replacement) shows his considerable talent, and the rhythm section finally gets to show their chops without all the overproduction. The actual ‘Crack a Smile’ album ends with ‘Doin as I see on my TV’ and then goes into the ‘And More’ section… including B-Sides and unfinished demos from the album, as well as a rare outtake from ‘Open Up and Say.. Aah!’ which will delight hardcore fans who already own bootlegs of ‘Crack a Smile’. Also thrown in are four excellent performances of old hits on MTV’s Unplugged. This 20-track strong album never lets up for a second, and even if you HATE Poison, this will appeal to you, gaurunteed. It’s rock the way it should be, without the overproduction of the 80’s and the gloominess of the 90’s. If the musical audience wasn’t so damn cynical, this album could be a surefire classic.
I’m sure by now that everyone who wants to know the history of this CD, already knows it, so I won’t beat a dead horse by bringing up Capitol Records folly. The truth is that the delay may have actually helped this album. Following on the heels of the VH1 Behind The Music special, the 1999 Summer Tour, and the Greatest Hits album being certified platinum, Poison has some momentum going as Crack A Smile and MORE hits the streets.And what an album. Blues Saraceno is just amazing. One of the great talents on guitar in the world today. Every song on the album is awesome. From first to last this album doesn’t stop. It has all the best elements of old Poison, while not being old Poison. This isn’t the same band that did Talk Dirty To Me, but it’s not too different either. In fact they are better. I can’t remember the last time I heard a record that just rocked this hard, and was this good from beginning to end. The MTV Unplugged songs were unnecessary, and probably just a carry over from the Crack A Smile bootlegs that have been floating around. They don’t take anything away from the album, but the don’t add too much either. It’s a great album, and if songs like Tragically Unhip (ya gotta love a band that can and will ridicule Kurt Cobain killing himself!) Sexual Thing, Mr. Smiley and One More For The Bone get some airplay, this could be a huge album. This is an album, that if you listen to it objectively, with no preconception of “oh, it’s Poison, it’s gonna be lame” you will be impressed. It’s a must have for any Poison Fan, any fan of the heavy metal from the late 80’s and early 90’s, and should be heard by any fan of great rock. If people who hate Poison could listen to this, and not know who it was, they would love it. If the public at large wasn’t so busy TRYING to be hip, cool and current, this could be one of the great rock albums from the last 15 years. Unfortunately the album will probably not get that chance.So, to summarize, it’s simply amazing – an absolutely incredible album.