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After the release of many legendary progressive heavy metal records with his main band Iron Maiden, Bruce Dickinson decided to stick back to his roots and to release a more grounded and honest hard rock and heavy metal album which would become his first solo output "Tattooed Millionaire". The songs are very catchy and much easier to understand and appreciate than the epic tracks of his main band and this first output is essentially a feel good party record. It's the ideal music you want to hear on a sunny Saturday morning when you hit the open road with a motorcycle to meet with some friends in a pub and play some rounds of pool billiard. The album has a very cool and relaxed attitude at some points but also some very personal lyrics and some parts that criticize the society and the stereotypical tough rocker image.
The album kicks off with an excellent power ballad which is "Son Of A Gun", easily one of the best tracks on the entire release. The title track has a cool hard rock vibe and aggressive lyrics and shouts that give us a hint on the forthcoming and often criticized Iron Maiden release "No Prayer For The Dying". The fact that Steve Harris liked the track "Bring Your Daughter... To The Slaughter" that Bruce Dickinson originally wrote with his solo band for the soundtrack of "Nightmare On Elm Street 5: The Dream Child" so much that he would use it for Iron Maiden shows that Bruce Dickinson had a big influence on the changes of style that would occur within the band. He also brought the guitar player from his solo band, a certain Janick Gers, in the band to replace Adrian Smith who had just quit the band to try some more or rather less successful and convincing solo experiments. If you like "No Prayer For The Dying", you will also like this record but I personally even prefer this solo release as it has a constant flow, many great ideas that fit well together and a very intimate atmosphere in tracks such as the personal melodic rock masterpiece "Born In '58" hidden between the rebellious rock anthems that make me think of bands such as Aerosmith, Def Leppard or Free.
Towards the end of the record, Bruce Dickinson gets even a little bit more experimental with some crossover funk sounds reminding me of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, as in "Lickin' The Gun" or the slightly experimental "Zulu Lulu". The Mott The Hoople cover "All The Young Dudes" perfectly fits to these songs and the overall musical attitude of this record and this is one if not the best version of the song I have heard so far. The closing "No Lies" surprises with discordant guitar sounds but goes slightly nowhere and is one of the weakest tracks on this enjoyable record.
In the end, this is a down to earth easy listening hard rock record. It's nothing groundbreaking or innovating but it's a pleasure to listen to this energizing and cool music. At the time, this music was a good way for Bruce Dickinson to catalyze his creativity and his very personal tastes and it's a refreshing alternative to the music Iron Maiden made in the years before even if both styles are not comparable and nothing would ever reach the high quality of heavy metal milestones such as "Powerslave" or "Somewhere In Time". Anybody who really likes hard rock and simple heavy metal music should check this album out but a true Iron Maiden fan and even someone who admires the voice of Bruce Dickinson could have some starting troubles with this record and should check his later solo records such as "Accident Of Birth" or "The Chemical Wedding" out before he gets down to this rather simple kind of music.
In the 1990’s, heavy metal died in the wave of a hand. In a previous review, I said that the 1988 film Decline Of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years, helped to kill off the GLAM metal movement. Metal was forever plagued with the stereotype of being “that genre with the hair”. That is not true. One band in particular has stayed true to their roots for close to 40 years. Iron Maiden is the blue collar, no puffy hair, all out metal assault that is criminally underrated in today’s modern world. But, once you begin to discover Maiden, you discover that vocalist Bruce Dickinson led a minor solo career that raised its head in 1989, after Dickinson was asked to do a track for the fifth Nightmare On elm Street film. “Bring Your Daughter To The Slaughter” featured future Maiden guitarist Jannick Gers, bassist Andy Carr and Fabio Del Rio on drums. The ensemble soon re entered the studio with longtime Maiden and Deep Purple producer Martin Birch. The following results were what was to become 1990’s Tattooed Millionaire record.
This is exactly what happens when you mix LA and rock. You get a concoction for disaster. The album kicks off with my personal favorite Son Of A Gun, where Bruce manages to hold things together. On the title track, the song begins to reek of LA glam leftovers. The contrast between the two tracks is like day and night. The title track is not horrible. In fact it is the very first song of Dickinson’s solo career that I ever heard, so it has stuck on me and grown over the years. Songs like Born In 58 begin to push the edges of pop rock, while Bruce still manages to hold things together. Bruce is like the glue that holds things together. Before all comes to a screeching halt, we are confronted by the beautiful ballad “Gypsy Road”, which is another prime cut on the record. It is an anthem for freedom that strikes a chord with me.
Remember the screeching halt that I was talking about? Well the horrid track “Dive!, Dive!, Dive!” Is easily the worst song that Bruce has ever written! Do not be fooled into it being like another “Run Silent, Run Deep” about submarine warfare. No, this is a terrible song about sex that is filled with terrible innuendos and double entendres. The whole affair is tongue in cheek. The album seems to drop off after the well done cover of Mott The Hoople’s “All The Young Dudes”, which I think is a nice recovery from the former atrocity. Most of the songs past this point are tongue in cheek, double entendre filled, Aerosmith sounding clunkers.
Tattooed Millionaire is not the worst thing that Bruce has ever released. No, that is saved for the following record, 1994’s Balls To Picasso. Yes, the album IS filled with sex loving, annoying lyrics. But here is the catch, do not be dissuaded by these songs. The album has its high and lows, those songs being the lows. This is highly recommended to anyone interested in Bruce Dickinson.
You will abhor this, most assuredly. This is about as Iron Maiden as Twisted Sister is, with generic hard rock anthems that even Bruce Dickinson cannot salvage. Supposedly his later work is mind-blowing, but there's no evidence of cranium-exploding songwriting here.
This is as generic as generic gets. Janick Gers delivers nothing more than some uninspired Angus Young worship in both his rhythms and solos. This years before he dulled up the Iron Maiden formula. The lyrics are pretty typical of hard rock at the time and Bruce sings it just as typically. No amazing, climatic moments here. No epic passages or memorable lines or anything else to warrant listening to this more than once. Just an uninspired set of mainstream radio rejects with a great singer half assing it. Despite these criticisms, the album does succeed in one regards; it is quite catchy. Songs like the title track and "Hell on Wheels" have a certain merit to them if you're feeling generous, but catchy doesn't imply great songwriting, just catchy songwriting, which the album certainly is from time to time.
Maiden fans need not apply. Hard rock fans need not apply. Bruce Dickinson fans need not apply. This makes for a mediocre listen no matter who you are.
As a new member of Metal Archives, I have taken it upon myself to review Bruce Dickinson’s solo catalogue. His latest albums garner quite a bit of praise, while his first three unfairly languish in oblivion. Actually, let me qualify that last remark, this album deserves to die a long death.
Other reviewers have astutely labeled this album as hard rock and I will just reiterate the warning that this is not metal in any sense of the word. I even enjoy hard rock (though not what passes for it today) and this album still fails to please me in any regard.
Tattooed Millionaire falls into a trap countless albums fail to avoid; it places all the best songs at the beginning. It opens with Son of a Gun, which, while nothing astounding, manages to enchant with Dickinson’s powerful vocals and a catchy chorus. The title track is a brilliant piece of satire. It manages to simultaneously parody hair metal and craft a memorable entry into the mostly abominable genre. Born in 58 is a sugary ballad of only decent quality. Then we come to a song obviously influenced by AC/DC. From the raging vocals to the signature AC/DC riffs, Hell on Wheels, despite its indubitable origins, is a highlight of the album.
Unfortunately, it is the last of them. The rest rarely make an impression and begin to sound far too similar to each other. I hear this album is out of print. Don’t look to hard for this one unless you are a huge fan of Dickinson, pick up his later, far superior works.
I think Mr. Dickenson started this solo project because he was tired of doing metal, and wanted to try his hand at hard rock. Other than Led Zeppelin and Guns and Roses I pretty much am not a fan of hard rock. This album however is the heavier side of hard rock, and being a fan of Bruce's vocals...this album is pretty good for hard rock, except that alot of the songs after the first two sound the same and get kinda boring.
The album starts off strong with Son of a Gun and Tattooed Millionaire. They have decent guitar work, and an ever supporting drum and bass. The real shine of the songs comes from Bruce's vocals. The songs are kinda slow so they allow Bruce to project his voice more, with more volume than he had the chance to do with maiden before he left. Maiden had a faster style of playing in the 80's and early 90's than of this album often forcing Bruce to sing kinda fast and not allowing the full range of his voice to be shown. Well on this album (the first two tracks in particular) Bruce wales his head off, sings longer, louder, and with tons a volume than seen before this album. I think that was the main driving force behind this album, to show how well Bruce could sing...and this album does just that. After two tracks though..its gets kinda old, and for many metal fans, just not heavy or metal enough. Afterall it is hard rock here, not metal yet.
So this is where the problem is. Two great tracks in a row, the complete duplication for the rest of the album. When you make a copy of something, its not as good as the origonal. Well here the band tries to repeat the formula they used for the first two songs over and over again until albums end. Only standing out once with All the Young dudes, that being a pretty good song, but not enough to save the album. Bruces vocals keep the album listenable to...for awhile. The rest of the instruments, however, don't do much to make me want to play this album again. They aren't played bad, they are played well, just not creativly.
The reason this album is not so great is that I think Bruce just wanted to experiment. He was still with Maiden at the time...so he didn't have anything to lose. As you can see after he left Maiden his records got much better. Here is just something different Bruce wanted to do....and I blame much on why this album is so so on the musical instruments and the writing, not the vocals. Bruce's vocals are done pretty well here. Overall its kinda boring and forgetable. I recomend it only for extreme Bruce Dickinson fans, or hard rock fans.
This is melodic, radio friendly hard rock in the vein of Def Leppard or something, definately NOT Iron Maiden, so before even considering listening to this album, shake out any and all expectations of this album sounding even remotely like Maiden or even Bruce's later solo albums.
Ok, now that you have an idea of what to expect, this album isn't bad. This is a very fun, good time, go out on a saturday night, go to a bar, have a couple of beers, play darts, go to a strip club and have fun type of album, and it loosens you up like a good beer. In the lyric department, we see Bruce putting away his history books and pulling out a Playboy, and just letting it all hang out. The music is a very melodic, very slick, hard rock platter that would definately not sound out of place on 80's mainstream rock radio. Who can resist the shout-along "whoa-ooh-whoa-oh-whoa" in "Dive! Dive! Dive!", which actually has a pretty vicious vocal delivery by Bruce, or outrageously infectious melodies, pre-chorus and chorus of the title track? Ans of course, we got the mandatory ballads in too sugary sounding "Born In '58" and the much better "Gypsy Road". And The Mott The Hoople cover "All The Young Dudes" is very well done and one of the highlights of the album.
Now, this album does not have very many, heavy-hitting, headbanging moments, if any, but you'll find yourself pumping your fist in the air now and then and have a desire to just go out and party. But the main problem is the lack of a hard-hitting backbone. It makes the music a bit blah after a while, and the good time feel will wear out,but the first couple times, it's a very melodic and fun ride. Just make sure you spread the listens out a bit to keep it exciting.