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Most people probably remember and associate Twisted Sister with the 1980's glam metal scene and early MTV, and for good reason. But where most glam metal bands at that time tended to sound rather alike each other, not to mention looking unintentionally ridiculous, Twisted Sister looked the part intentionally and played more of a heavy metal sound. Sure, the Sister had a few commercial-sounding tracks like "I Am (I'm Me)" or the smash-hit "We're Not Gonna Take It", but other tracks on their albums were made up of heavy hitters and some even flirting towards a speed metal sound.
So in 1985, Twisted Sister's fourth album were due, and it followed the massive success of the band's third album; Stay Hungry. It's probably safe to say that the label, as well as fans and critics, put some great pressure on the band to prove themselves. And so came Come Out And Play, an album which is a lot more polished than all of the band's earlier releases. Produced by then-current long-time Scorpions producer Dieter Dierks, the album sounds quite reminiscent to Scorpions' hit album Love At First Sting. While the production is a lot cleaner, sometimes too clean (but also clearer-sounding, on the upside), the band's music haven't really changed. In fact, I would even dare say that this album is overall harder than its predecessor in terms of heavy metal songs.
The album's music covers a few different areas, ranging from speed metal-esque tracks to ballads to the classic comical-style Twisted Sister. The opening and also title-track starts off with a creepy intro which is a direct reference from the movie The Warriors (1979), urging Twisted Sister (rather than "The Warriors") to come out and play - and boom - Dee Snider does a real twisted (pun intended) scream before the song blasts out in high speed. As an opening track, it's not far from the style that the previous album's opener (and title track) was, but slightly faster this time around. The band then covers different grounds, ranging from both sing-a-long and shout-a-long tracks (the first few tracks) to cozy ballads ("I Believe In You") to youth anthems ("Out In The Streets"). There's really something for every Twisted fan to be found on here, if the new production style can be accepted.
Compared to the band's earlier albums, this one feels a lot more musical in terms of technicality. The band as a whole has really improved as far as their playing go, with AJ Pero's drums sounding more fun, Eddie Ojeda's solos blistering all over, and most of all - vocalist Dee Snider's great voice. This album would be well-worth checking out for Dee's vocals alone, because he has never shined this bright anywhere else, and he really proves his chops on this one. Lyrically, though, it's kind of hit-or-miss. The more serious-toned tunes tend to have good and thoughtful lyrics, with especially "Out In The Streets" being in mind. Some other tracks tend to have that "I Wanna Rock"-feeling to them, e.g. nothing to be taken too seriously.
My final verdict for this album would be that it's a very good and truly underrated album. What it differs in production value, if their old albums' productions are to favor, it totally compensates musically. To me, this is Twisted Sister at their peak in all ways imaginable, whether it be the songs or performances. I am disappointed by the fact that this album didn't do better than it actually did, being viewed as somewhat of a failure in comparison to Stay Hungry, despite earning the band a Gold record in sales. With a collection of songs this strong and powerful, this album should be hailed as something bigger by TS and metal fans alike.
Check-outs: Come Out And Play, The Fire Still Burns, Out In The Streets, King Of The Fools.
To say that Twisted Sister was one of the most hilariously over-the-top bands that ever graced the airwaves would be a complete understatement. They're one of those groups categorized as a "hair band", yet their goofy lyrics, hilarious music videos, and a fashion sense that would make Poison look like D.R.I, were all part of the fun. However, the smiles would eventually disappear from our faces once Atlantic Records, the band's label, wanted to make them more "friendlier" to the general public. As a result, their music suffered, and this downhill slope that began with "Come Out and Play" ended with the band's breakup.
While there are indeed songs on "Come Out and Play" that would be more appropriate for Patrick Bateman's playlist, there's also others that are pretty good. The title track, is completely different from what you'd expect much of the album to be. It's got a pretty fast tempo, so fast, that it might even borderline speed metal. No, I'm not kidding, people. It's that fast of a track. As it has that time signature, it also has to be quite aggressive, right? Right. It totally is. This is something completely out of character for a glam band to do, right? It's the only track on the album that has this power, however, but there's also "Out on the Streets". A sort of "ballad" which kicks into gear once it gets towards the chorus. It's actually quite heavy and grinding in terms of slower songs, thus it's actually more likely to have you headbang than most other songs on the album.
For those of you who want the cheesiness that got you into listening to Twisted Sister in the first place, fear not, it's still there. I feel that the song that best exemplifies this is "I Believe in Rock n' Roll". It's got the lyrics that will make you giggle, even going so far as to parody the marriage ritual that most Americans are familiar with ("Do you take this music to be your lawfully wedded rock?") and even a "sermon" at the end! It's just a ridiculous song, but it's all tongue and cheek. It's so ridiculous that it actually managed to be hilarious, so hilarious, it's awesome. Although it borderlines asinine, "Be Chrool to Your Scuel" is another goofy track that even features not only a saxophone, but also a cameo from Alice Cooper. Normally I would say that this song is the result of the label pushing radio-friendliness to make the band sound more appealing to morons who worship the Cars, but hey, it's also the result of two forces of musical farce clashing together, so I'll give that track a free pass.
What I won't give a free pass, however is "You Want What We Got". I get the feeling it's trying to cash in on the glory of the hit "We're Not Gonna Take It", since both that one and "You Want what We Got" are at the same, commercial-appropriate time signature as well as a sing-along chorus that is constantly repeated to the point where you'd want to stick your head in a meat grinder just to get it out of there. It sounds like a very similar song, 'cos both songs are peppy and upbeat, but "You Want what We Got" will never, ever, ever eclipse the fun that we had listening to "We're Not Gonna Take It". That song had more aggression, despite it's upbeat tone, and "You Want what We Got" sounds more like a rejected Quiet Riot song. What I find baffling is the band's (or the label's) decision to cover the old Shangri-Las song "Leader of the Pack". It doesn't sound too bad as a Twisted Sister song, but I really don't like it when metal bands cover songs that weren't meant for the genre.
Unless the band hits the studio sometime soon, "Come Out and Play" just might be the very last great Twisted Sister album. It might not be as good as "Stay Hungry", but it still has what we all love about Twisted Sister. All the goofiness, all the flair, and all the power that we would want. But that wouldn't be enough to satisfy Mr. Ahmet Ertegun. No, people like him on the label wanted the band to be another carbon copy of Poison. The band released the horrendous "Love is for Suckers" in 1987, and the rest is history.
Whereas I consider their previous effort “Stay Hungry” a milestone in eighties history. This time they took a few things too far and sound tired at times. On “Stay Hungry” the sleazy rock elements for some reason perfectly fell into place within the concept and diversity of the album. This time the album falls flat on its face a few times and picks itself up again and again.
Three mighty metal songs here uphold the standard. Opening title track “Come Out and Play” is even faster and more brutal than the opener to their pervious album. After a creepy intro the song erupts into up tempo metal becoming almost speed metal. Really powerful vocals and a world dominating chorus. “The Fire Still Burns” is a fascinating waltzing heavy metal song on which the drums play an important part and Dee Snider gives one of his most beautiful performances. Closing song “Kill or Be Killed” is a catchy up tempo song with a very strong chorus.
Where the album fails to deliver is on the cover “Leader of the Pack” which is funny in a ‘Holy Smoke’ kind of way, but feels out of place on a full length album. “Be Crool to Your Skool” suffers from the same problem. It’s a funny song, cool to hear Alice Cooper singing along and there are some nice details on piano but the song as a whole is not really good enough. Both these songs would have fitted better on an EP or in-between single.
The rest of the songs have some great ideas (“Out on the Streets”, ”Lookin' Out For #1”) but on songs like “You Want What We Got” and “I Believe in Rock 'n' Roll” the band fails at writing sing-a-longs equally good to earlier classics like “We’re not gonna take it” or “The Kids are Back”. Twisted Sister sounded like they were getting tired and only put an effort into a small amount of the songs (especially the earlier mentioned three classics) and should have taken more time writing material for this album and putting the finishing touches to some of the songs.
Many times underrated album Come out and play is not a bad record, thought bands image was still glam (unlike Poison), these fellas make good music. Too many hailed as a hair metal band, the band is much heavier on this "pop-album" than many other hair bands. Unlike it's heavier predecessors, this album is more poppier, but nonetheless heavy. There are both radio ("Be chrool to your scuel") and heavy metal ("Kill or be killed") songs on the album.
My first opinion about Twisted Sister was that those five goofballs who looked like ragdolls couldn't ever make good music. One reason I bought this (on vinyl format) was it's special cover. There's that opening manhole revealing grotesque singer and frontman Dee Snider. I had heard some Sister material earlier from some various artist compilations, but this was my real first touch to this band. After the torture at the dentist, I played this record, and as my big surprise, this was the result.
Inner sleeve had a text "Play it loud, mutha!" and I completely obeyd it. There are some quiet parts and energy burst in the start of the starting and title song, "Come out and play". Snider's scream (what scared the crap out of me) starts the fast and heavy song, the first highlight. Chorus is cathchy as glue. My next personal highlight is the next track, The Shirelles cover "Leader of the pack". Sisters make a good version of it, and it is a complete opposite to "Come out and play". The song is peaceful and sensitive love song. Sniff.
If "Come out and play" was heavy, and "Leader of the pack" peaceful, the "You want what we got" is something from the between. It is more happier than the aforementioned tracks. Someone may say that is album is a fucking pop album with weepy ballads cause of the two previous tracks, that guy will be surprised. "I believe in rock 'n' roll" is way more heavier with it's ballcrushing riffs than those two songs. "The fire stills burns" isn't poppy either, actually it's even more heavier than "I believe in rock 'n' roll". It's chorus reminds me a lot of W.A.S.P. and it wouldn't be surprise if Blackie Lawless had composed something like this, mainly by it's vocal melodies.
This album tried to aim at MTV pop audiences, so it's ironic that the humorous video song "Be chrool to your scuel" was banned by MTV. The name actually means (if you didn't figured it out) "Be cruel to your school". Song is easy radio rock with saxophones, pianos and trumpets combided with impressive guest list, including Billy Joel, Brian Setzer and Alice Cooper. "I believe in you" makes return to sad pop metal songs in the beginning of the album. It has again a good chorus. "I believe in you. Aa-aaa"-line and a sad solo included. "Out on the streets" is a basic pop metal song and nothing else, and it even shouldn't be.
"Looking out for #1"'s name refers to love ballad, what this song isn't. It follows the same pop metal pattern laid by the previous song. Ending of the album isn't sad, thought someone can think of it. "Kill or be killed" represents the heavier edge of the album, and it does it well. Song ends pretty suddenly, and then you think, was that it?
All songs have been written by Snider (expect the "Leader of the pack"), and it seems that his songwriting skills are still high. He has an ability to make many memorable and catchy songs, which many songwriter lacks. This album isn't always so heavy as it's predecessors, but should it be?
Twisted Sisters fourth full length, Come Out and Play, is definetly not a bad album, just not the greatest. Some parts in this album are heavy metal, while other parts lead to more of a straight out, rock and roll sound. So the greatest controversy over this album: Is it heavy metal or rock! I have come to the conclusion that it is heavy metal starting to turn to a more modern rock sound. Then there are times when this album has the ever familiar sound of "glam metal"!
So what is the heavy metal part of this album? The Fire Still Burns is a perfect example of heavy metal! The opening riff will make you headbang for sure. It has a fast paced drum beat and riff, and awsome vocals. Kill Or Be Killed, another great example. Awsome heavy metal drum beating and heavier riffs then some of the other songs on here. The lyrics are also definetly more darker and different from the other songs that aren't heavy metal.
Still ever present in Twisted Sister is the "glam metal" sound. This is shown in songs like Come Out and Play, the way the vocals are done, certain riffing styles. You Want What We Got, straight power chords! Definetly showing a heavier style of riffing, especially heavier vocals. I mean come on, who shouts the name of the title before playing it? I Believe in You is definetly a glam song; ballad! A pretty good straight out, ballad, that never gets to heavy. It doesn't have the greatness that The Price or You're Not Alone.
Besides these two sides, there is definetly a pull towards a modern rock (classic rock) in this album. The best way to explain this is in the song I Believe in Rock-N-Roll! It is a pretty good song, it has a cool verse riff, awsome lyrics (anthem style I want to rock, nothing else), and a heavy drum beat. The title would suggest a rock n roll type song. Towards the end of the song Snider talks:"Oh, would that my words were written down would that they were inscribed on a record that with an iron fist and Led Zeppelin they were cut in the rock forever but as for me, I know that HEAVY METAL lives and it will at last stand fourth upon the dust that I myself shall see my own ears not another's shall behold it and from my flesh I shall see it ROCK my inmost being is consumed with longing this is the word of the rocker!" You see the parallels?
Also there are two covers on this album. Leader of the Pack, originally sung by The Shirelles. It's cool and nicely done (although it is weird cause a girl is supposed to sing this song). There are a lot of good sound effects in here, like motor cycle sounds and the backing vocals is excellent. The other cover is Be Crool to Your Skool, a roughly done cover of the Beach Boys classic!
Overall this album isn't bad, although Stay Hungry and Under the Blade are ten times better. Still it is not bad if you like 80's rock/heavy metal. Great riffing, awsome soloing, great vocals, and some unforgettable songs! Recommend for Twisted Sister fans, and 80 metal fans!!!