By JAY ROBERTS
The Cassette Chronicles is a continuing series of mini reviews and reflections on albums from the 1980’s and 1990’s. The aim of this series is to highlight both known and underappreciated albums from rock, pop and metal genres from this time period through the cassette editions of their releases. Some of the albums I have known about and loved for years, while others are new to me and were music I’ve always wanted to hear. There will be some review analysis and my own personal stories about my connection with various albums. These opinions are strictly my own and do not reflect the views of anyone else at Limelight Magazine.
DANGER DANGER – SCREW IT! (1991)
It is a good thing that there isn’t a statute of limitations on discovering new-to-me music that was released so long ago. For one thing, this series would likely not exist. More importantly, it would rob me of the chance to discover this “new” music that I either missed the first time around or consciously ignored.
And that brings me to the second album from the band Danger Danger. Now, like most people that grew up during the 80’s and very early 90’s, I am well aware of the two big songs that came from their first album. “Bang Bang” and “Naughty Naughty” are their best known tracks to this day. That said, I never really got into the band beyond those two singles and by the time Screw It! came out in 1991, I had most definitely stopped paying attention. And while their name remained in my memory all this time, I’d never been moved to check out their music.
But singer Ted Poley’s involvement in the surprisingly outstanding self-titled Tokyo Motor Fist album in 2017 piqued my interest. What finally made my decision to check out the music of Danger Danger however, was the recent (April 14th, 2018) solo show that Poley played near me. I decided to take in the show and was rewarded with an outstanding performance the truly did convert me into a fan of the singer.
So, I dug into the big box of cassettes and came up with the band’s second release and decided to write about it.
The album’s release came towards the end of “The Metal Years,” but was rather chock full of some great tunes. The singles for the album were the rocker “Monkey Business” and the ballad track “I Still Think About You”. Both songs are really good, particularly “Monkey Business” (with its cinematic intro piece “Ginger Snaps”), but what I found was that they weren’t my favorite tracks. The deeper cuts had a lot going for it and in some cases, in hindsight of course, might just have made for better choices for singles.
Another thing I noticed that while a lot of the song lyrics deal with a somewhat over the top obsession with all things sex (not that that is a bad thing in my book), at times the band was almost charmingly reflective. This is reflected in songs like “Comin’ Home” and “Find Your Way Back Home”.
Now I will say that the uptempo “Slipped Her The Big One” somehow failed to come together for me. I know that I’m likely going to be in the minority in that opinion but I thought the song just lacked something that would’ve put the track over the top.
Also, you know how when labels reissue albums and add bonus tracks? In the case of the song “Yeah, You Want It!”, if Screw It! ever gets the reissue treatment I’d guarantee to buy it if they’d delete the song from the track list. Not to be overly dramatic but this is one of the worst songs I’ve ever heard.
That being said, when the band rocks out with their metaphorical….nahh, not going there. But seriously, the band is really on fire the more they fire up their material.
While tracks “Every Body Wants Some” and “Don’t Blame It On Love” get the blood pumping, other tracks are positively heart-stopping. I just loved “Get Your Shit Together” which had a steal of an Andy Timmons guitar solo in it. The guitarist’s six string performance was top notch on a lot of the songs. Meanwhile, “Crazy Nites” blazes bright from start to finish and I loved how the Janis Joplin lyric “take another little piece of my heart” was semi-covertly thrown into the mix at the end of the song.
And while there’s absolutely not subtlety in the song title “Horny S.O.B.”, the song is almost nightmarishly awesome. Sure, it’s a topic that you’ve listened to about 1,000 songs in your lifetime but the performance from the band and particularly Ted Poley’s unapologetic embodying of the lyrics made this song a complete winner to me. It was the opening song at the solo show I went to and you just can’t help being drawn in by the song. Plus, while it may not completely sum me up here in the present, I’m quite sure this one could’ve been my personal motto back in 1991. I would’ve loved to have heard this on the radio back in the day along with “Don’t Blame It On Love” and “Crazy Nites”.
So, while it may have taken a concert from 27 years after the release of the Screw It! album to finally get off my musical duff and give Danger Danger a true and thorough listen, I’ve now done so and once again find myself completely in the wrong to have stubbornly or perhaps stupidly overlooked the band all these years. My 20-year-old self has a lot to answer for regarding saying “Screw It!” to Screw It!
NOTES OF INTEREST: Three-fourths of the band Extreme (Gary Cherone, Nuno Bettencourt and Pat Badger) are credited with backing vocal appearances on “Slipped Her The Big One” and being part of the rap on “Yeah, You Want It!”.
Adult film star Ginger Lynn is credited on the album for “Moans, Groans & Assorted Boners”.