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Poison the Hit Parade

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iTunes Review

This Libertyville, Illinois singer-songwriter doesn’t mince words and he never lays back. He insists on music every bit as biting, sarcastic and street smart as his worldview, and he believes in immersing himself in the center of the storm and fighting his way to safety. (“Farewell to the Good Times Part 2” is the only calm in this hurricane.) This 2008 collection includes five demos, alternate versions of previous album tracks (“It’s Alright to Die,” originally featured on 2004’s Sparkle in the Finish being a highlight) and a couple of previously unreleased studio cuts that fit comfortably next to his best work — 2001’s Salesmen and Racists and 2007’s We Belong to the Staggering Evening. The title track swaggers with that Stones-to-Replacements classic rock mission, where a raspy, street poet puts forth his jaw and dares you to take a punch. “Janie Doesn’t Lie,” ‘Dragonflies,” “New Assassination Blues” are full-fledged rockers that could’ve been birthed in the Graham Parker-Elvis Costello- Jim Carroll literate rocker boom of the late ‘70s. “Duty Free” adds a few country stylings and still can’t soften this hardboiled egg.

Customer Reviews


Mr. Reilly its your favorite friend of shanes... i just wanted to let u kno that this new cd is outstanding! Shane doesnt know how lucky he is to have a rockstar for a dad. Oh, and i want to let everyone know i listened to poison the hit parade before all of you in mr. reillys car! anyways congrats on a fantastic album and keep it sure i will see you in the near future and good luck with everything!

Gravy for fans, newcomers should get some meat & potatos first

Ike's new record falls somewhere in the murky gray area of non-canonical full-lengths. It's not a B-sides compilation, it's not a lost session tape, and it's not a greatest hits collection. It's really kind of a potpourri of anything that would fit on an album. It's made up of some new material, some highlights from his digital EPs, demos from his major-label debut and some re-recordings of his previous albums. Yeah, it sounds like a classic time-stall, but if that was his intent, it probably wouldn't come eleven short months after 2007's We Belong to the Staggering Evening. For someone who used to have some tight Dust Brothers-esque production on his records and now plays the role of a frontman of a raw bar rock band, the re-records aren't really lacking in fidelity or hooks, mainly because Reilly sounds like he's having some fun dressing his songs up differently, (especially his salute to Cracker's country-tinged cover of his own Duty Free). And if you already know the songs, you'll enjoy hearing a different spin on them. Some of these may sound redundant, especially the demo for Hip Hop Thighs which just showcases a few different lyrics and differences in song structure. Also, despite the genre switch, It's All Right to Die never feels quite as separated from its counterpart as the blown-out verses of either version feel from their contrasting acoustic chorus. New material, of course, is what really picks up a fan's ear, so it's really a blessing Ike doesn't skimp on it. He supplies us with four new tunes, (six if you missed out on any of his online-only EP's), and it's solid, actually managing to string together the other mash-ups. The most immediate stand-out is the up-tempo chemotherapy empathy ballad, Fireflies. With an opening that (with a thicker production gloss) wouldn't feel entirely out of place on a Jimmy Eat World record, Ike barrels into some of his heaviest lyrics ("as the angels tear your flesh," he sings of the surgeons), soaring bittersweet melody lines, and a shade of heartfelt optimism that you'd be hard-pressed to find elsewhere in his discography. The other tracks are good, but, really, nothing shocking. If you've been following Ike's career, you'll know exactly what to expect if told to expect the expected. The title track features some lyrical play akin to 2005's Junkie Faithful material, and Janie Doesn't Lie's got a damn hooky chorus, although the tune is just dying for some more treble. If there's a downside to Poison's seemingly random (if not fun) selection of songs and new styles for them, it's that his only mood not represented here is that goldmine of the lush vibe Ike found in Sparkle in the Finish's two dynamite closers: St. Joe's Band & Ex-Americans. Here, the slow songs are acoustic, the fast ones are played through blown-out amps, leaving you kind of thirsty for some subtlety. And If there's a downside to Poison being cranked out so soon after its predecessor, it's that there's really not much of a foreshadowing of Reilly's next creative direction, either. So all in all, for those who love Ike Reilly (and don't forget his Assassination, either!) on the whole, there's plenty to like here. If you're not an IRA fan yet, may I take the privilege to tell you that what you hear here may not necessarily impress you, and you're better off starting with one of his other full-lengths, there's not a bad one in the batch. Not that Poison is bad, but it's sure nowhere near as accessible as his other material. But maybe it's not such a bummer considering how many artists neuter themselves in the name of accessibility these days.


i like ike!!!!


Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Breaking new ground within the exploration of pure-styled rock & roll, Ike Reilly unveils an unusual ability as a songwriter, venturing to assault the ruggedness of hard rock tones and forwarding crude and fierce lyrics within his songs. Born in the little town of Libertyville, IL, Reilly has followed a trail separate from most of today's singer/songwriters -- unlike other such artists, Reilly prefers the harshness of intrepid rocking riffs, sustained by ingenious melodies and exalting words. A wave...
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Poison the Hit Parade, Ike Reilly
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