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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.