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Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich

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Album Review

Other bands were bigger, other bands were better, but no other group embodied the spirit of late-'80s hair metal as much as Warrant. They were slick and tuneful, cheerfully shallow and gussied up to look prettier than they actually are. It was the era in a nutshell — proud to be all surface and no depth. That aesthetic is what drives their debut, Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich, an album where they shake and shimmy like rock stars because that's what they desperately want to be. To achieve that, they distilled the sounds of L.A. at the time, where everybody used Van Halen and Kiss as a template, balancing the former's guitar hero antics and flamboyant sex-god frontman with the latter's big dumb riffs and pop hooks. Warrant surely weren't the first to do it — Ratt and Poison brought it into the mainstream a few years earlier — but the glossy package of Dirty Rotten makes it emblematic of its time. It's sleek and clean, built on processed guitars and cavernous drums, never taking more time than it needs, pushing the hooks front and center, along with a mile-wide sentimental streak best heard on the power ballads "Sometimes She Cries" and "Heaven," which sold this album to a wider, largely female audience that was also enamored with frontman Jani Lane's pretty looks. But don't be mistaken — those are two slow moments on an album that's a party record, the time when the lights dim and the kids sway in a slow dance. The rest of this is good-time pop-metal, all professionally done but leaving little lasting impression, outside of the tremendous "Down Boys," which sounds exactly the same as the rest of the record but has an indelible chorus and is the one time when the band actually sounds powerful instead of preening. But it's hard to criticize an album for not making a lasting impression when it was designed to be in the moment, something to blast at keggers and when cruising through town. It served its purpose in 1989, and years later, it sounds exactly like that year, both for better and worse.

Customer Reviews

Why so hard on Warrant?

Other bands were better....didn't leave a lasting impression, well not much music written in the late 80s had any influence on the music of the nirvana-led grunge era. But to me Warrant did leave a lasting impression. "Down Boys", "Big Talk" are highlights here. But "Sometimes She Cries" really impressed me. How Warrants is able to slow it down and make a good song is beyond me and it shows how really talented they are


yes this album is hair metal at its best but you have to admit it was pretty good. I mean check the numbers. How many singles did Warrant have throughout its reign? That can't be a complete coincidence. Obviously a few of those were girl songs like "sometimes she cries," "heaven," and "I saw read," but they were pretty decent by hair metal band standards. People never realized the potential behind Jani Lane who impressed with many great ballads and two further albums that were overlooked.

One of the greatest....

bands of the 80's "hair bands" era. I was a teenager when this album was released and to this day i still listen to it. They dont make music like this anymore.


Formed: 1984 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

With a pair of double-platinum albums and three Top Ten singles, Warrant were one of the most popular pop-metal bands of the late '80s. Formed in Los Angeles in 1984, the group weathered several lineup changes before solidifying around the talents of vocalist Jani Lane, guitarist Erik Turner, guitarist Joey Allen, bassist Jerry Dixon, and drummer Steven Sweet. The band signed with Columbia Records in January 1988 and released Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich one year later; by that summer, it had...
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Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich, Warrant
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