Like many of its lite metal peers, Poison attracted its initial audience of young males with hard rock and salacious lyrics, but expanded its appeal to young women with apparently heartfelt ballads, scoring a major breakthrough with the chart-topping "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" in late 1988. Since the band's reign of success was relatively brief, really only lasting from 1987 to 1990 and spanning only three albums, 1986's Look What the Cat Dragged In, 1988's Open Up and Say...Ahh!, and 1990's Flesh & Blood, Capitol Records has been hard-pressed to turn out an unending succession of hits compilations on the group -- the type of compilations that usually keep record company bottom lines healthy long after an act goes into commercial decline. Best of Ballads & Blues is a clever idea, however, since it isolates the group's power ballads and midtempo numbers for all those former hair-teased honeys now driving mini-vans with baby seats in the back. The ballad hits are here, "Every Rose Has Its Thorn," "Something to Believe In," and "Life Goes On" (all right up at the beginning of the disc), plus previously unreleased acoustic versions of "Something to Believe In" and the late chart entry "Stand" at the end. Those are the songs that used to set an arena's worth of cigarette lighters aflame and aloft (and continue to on the band's reunion tours). In between are some carefully chosen album tracks for a generous 75-minute running time. Those who wonder whether Poison really had that much slow stuff may note that there are a few modest rockers in the bunch ("Good Love," for example), but nothing too upsetting. Among their fans, the now-balding guys with tattoos may not get the point of this collection, but as usual the little girls (now women approaching middle age) will understand.
AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann