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Stay Hungry

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(58 Reviews)

Metal Album Reviews[RSS]

  • What’s the 4-1-1?
    Twisted Sister labored day in and day out for more than a decade on the New York City club circuit before becoming a household name. When they originally formed in 1972 by guitarist Jay Jay French, the group was a glam cover band in the vein of the New York Dolls. It wasn’t until 1976 that wild frontman Dee Snider hooked up with the group. It was Dee that become the chief original songwriter and got Twisted Sister going toward their path of rock stardom.

    The group’s first studio album Under the Blade was a hit by any standard, but it did cause quite a stir in the rock music underground. Atlantic Record released their follow-up album in 1983, You Can’t Stop Rock and Roll to mixed reviews. Some say it might have been Quiet Riot’s breakout into the pop charts that gave Twisted Sister and bands like them a chance to be heard. In 1984, the group released their third album Stay Hungry. And the rest, they say…is history!

    Often overlooked is the albums title track “Stay Hungry.” The song has such a great heavy metal feel and bounce to it as Dee Snider wails away vocally, and his twin guitar attack of Jay Jay French and Eddie Ojeda back him up with a wall of power chords. You know it, you love it, and most of you youngsters think it’s a song for a nasal decongestant; it’s the rock anthem “We’re Not Gonna Take It.” This is the one that got Twisted Sister noticed; for good and bad reasons.

    Senator Al Gore’s wife Tipper singled out the video for this song for its violent content and the impact it would have on America’s youth. Mind you, this video was so cartoonish that if you actually threw someone out a window because of it, you have more problems than listening to Twisted Sister. The controversy only worked in the groups favor, as the album started flying off the shelves. It just goes to show that all publicity is good publicity.

    “Burn in Hell” never makes the Twisted Sister best of albums, but it’s actually on of their coolest tracks. The tone is very dark and evil as you are taken into the bowels of hell. Once inside, the guitars ring out in a metal fury and summon the flames of Hades. I was actually introduced to this song when it appeared in Pee Wee’s Big Adventure (yeah, I didn’t believe it either). “Horror-Teria” eventually went on to spawn Snider’s feature film Strangeland years later. The two-part track is just as twisted as the movie (okay, the movie was much more so).

    Twisted Sister showed they were no slouches when it came to the anthem department with the inclusion of “I Wanna Rock.” This is another song that has bleed so much into our pop-culture that a version of it was used in the SpongeBob Squarepants Movie (sung lovingly by Dee himself). “The Price” was a heavy metal ballad tried and true. It’s not too sappy, but it’s heartfelt at the same time. Thunderous riffs run rampant on “The Beast.” When the axes are subdued, drummer A.J. Pero takes over. Now what I can’t understand is, everyone knows what “S.M.F.” stands for after listening to it, but it was We’re Not Gonna Take It” that Tipper had a problem with.

    Twisted Sister went on to release several more albums, but none lived up to Stay Hungry. In reality, Twisted Sister wasn’t the biggest hard rock act in the world, but they did make their mark on the scene for a few years. The group called it quits in the late eighties. Jay Jay French went on to manage Sevendust and Snider worked any gig he could get. He formed three groups, Desperado, Widowmaker, and S.M.F. (a TS cover band), and hosted his own radio talk show as well as the syndicated program the House of Hair. Twisted Sister has since reunited and has decided to hit to nostalgia circuit. They’ve been crossing the country for the past few years and continue to keep the pace. Why? Because you wanna rock!

    The Verdict
    It’s not the greatest rock album of all-time, but you can’t discuss the history of rock and metal without mentioning it.

    Posted on March 1, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Many a Metal fan in the 1980s would tell anyone who would listen that all Glam Metal was for poseurs and any one of hundreds of different synonyms for homosexual. Glam Metal was for poodle haired cross dressers more interested in make up and picking up chicks than making music with any redeeming value whatsoever. By and large, this was true. Witness for example the excesses of Motley Crue, the effete foppery of Poison, the commercialised Pop/Rock of Bon Jovi, and the failings of any one of a number of other bands, like Faster Pussycat, Tiger Tailz, LA Guns, Bang Tango, Great White, Ratt, ad infinitum.Occasionally though, a Glam Metal band managed to produce an album masculine enough to appeal to True Metal fans. WASP managed it with two or three albums, and Motley Crue almost achieved it with the rough and ready “Girls Girls Girls”. “Stay Hungry” by Twisted Sister was another of these albums, and by far and away the most successful.Pre-dating the decadence of the LA Glam Metal scene by a good few years, Twisted Sister moulded the hard rocking theatrics of Kiss and Alice Cooper to their own shape. While many bands forgot to learn the basics, like playing instruments and writing songs, with Twisted Sister, the music always came first. The outrageous image was merely a marketing tool. Iron Maiden were also wearing multi-coloured Spandex in 1984, and no one was questioning their musical validity.”Stay Hungry” will always be best remembered for the two huge singles it spawned, and their hilarious accompanying videos. `We’re Not Gonna Take It’ and `I Wanna Rock’ are both lowest common denominator shout along anthems of simplistic teen rebellion at it’s basest level, but damn it, they are just so addictive, and the fun factor negates their obvious commercial intentions.If you look past the singles though, the rest of the album is reasonably dark. You thought Glam Metal was all about partying and chicks and lightweight throwaway Rock n Roll? Think again. Some of the riffs would have done Judas Priest proud at the time. And while some blame Glam Metal for the eventual decline of the solo because the guitar players were not technically proficient enough, don’t point fingers at Twisted Sister- try Mick Marrs and CC De Ville.The most obvious starting point is the creepy double shot of `Horror-Teria’. First up, `Captain Howdy’ explores the psyche of a deranged child killer, not unlike Freddy Krueger. “You think you’re going home to your own little bed/ But that’s impossible, you can’t sleep when you’re dead”. Captain Howdy was caught and tried for his crimes, but wasn’t convicted, so a lynch mob formed and meted out `Street Justice’. “Now before you shake your head/ Think if it was your child instead”. While not the deepest, most meaningful pair of songs ever, would any of Twisted Sister’s contemporaries have stopped thinking about their dicks long enough to produce songs like these?`Burn In Hell’, `The Beast’, `Don’t Let Me Down’ and `The Price also have negative lyrical themes, exploring where things and people fit in the world. `Burn In Hell’ and `The Beast’ would not seem out of place on a traditional Metal album, while `The Price’ is an Ozzy-esque power ballad. Although not the heaviest album ever, look carefully in the hidden corners of many a Metal fan’s collection and you might just find the familiar picture of Dee Snider feasting on a bone. “Stay Hungry” was perhaps the greatest entry-level Metal album of the early 1980s, and deservedly so.

    Posted on March 1, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • I defy anyone to name a better group than Twisted Sister. They defined youth rebellion, angst, and tortured lives well in advance of all these fools today. Dee Snider was brilliant and always ready with the Shakespeare-worthy lyrics about the difficulty of life in these United States. If I could, I’d give it a million stars. Brilliance I say, brilliance!

    Posted on March 1, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • To me, listening to TS’s Stay Hungry is similar to eating that midday Snickers,low on substance and completely unnecessary. Yet, somehow it’s 100% self-satisfying!

    Posted on March 1, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Stay Hungry is pretty much the best Heavy Metal album of 1984. You have your room shaking heavy crunchers like “Burn in Hell” and “S.M.F.”, you have your catchy rockers like “We’re Not Gonna Take It” and “I Wanna Rock”, your fast paced “Stay Hungry”, and your 2 1/2 minute ballad “The Price.” All that, and you still have four other great tracks. Some people will tell you Heavy Metal is stupid. Some people will tell you Twisted Sister is stupid. Well, some PEOPLE are stupid. They don’t understand it; so don’t let them get you down. Just crank it up and make ‘em deaf. “Stay Hungry” is a great album and should be in any Metalhead’s collection.

    Posted on February 28, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now