Poison

Power to the People

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Following right on the heels of the release of the aborted Crack a Smile sessions, Power to the People might interest some longtime fans, but it's probably borderline at best for anyone who isn't still a complete devotee. There are two distinct sections -- five new studio tracks and a sort of greatest-hits-live show recorded on their 1999 reunion tour with C.C. Deville -- and the liner notes don't give much background about either. The new material isn't bad, although the title track's nod to rap-tinged alternative metal comes off as awkward, more like an Aerosmith/"Walk This Way"-type rocker with no hooks. The others will appeal to longtime fans, though -- "Can't Bring Me Down" is a defiant rocker, "The Last Song" a typical Poison power ballad, and "Strange" a sort of electric/acoustic in-betweener. Furthermore, C.C. Deville makes his Poison lead vocal debut -- complete with vocoder-style effects! -- on the catchy (if unfortunately titled) "I Hate Every Bone in Your Body But Mine." The concert portion is decent, but it isn't really necessary either (and Bret Michaels seems to have lost a bit of range). Hardcore fans will be pleased to have a memento of Deville's return to the band, and the decision to combine new studio tracks with what's essentially a fan souvenir certainly reflects Poison's status as a cult band in the year 2000. But it can't help giving the impression that the band didn't have enough songs (or, perhaps, confidence) to issue a full-fledged new studio album, and the release ends up less than satisfying.

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