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When Only Three of Ten Stay in and Fight - 65%

Gutterscream, July 22nd, 2017
Written based on this version: 1985, 12" vinyl, Atlantic Records (Limited edition, Special edition)

“…ride above the storm, the average and the norm…”

Keeping me fearfully away from Come Out and Play, the eagerly awaited follow-up to platinum-plated Stay Hungry, were its hits that snagged all the radio play, decisively The Shangri-Las cover “Leader of the Pack” and the cringingly commercial “Be Chrool to Your Scuel”. My gawd, I wanted nothing to do with this thing, in particular the latter track which I think actually made me cry once.

It’s a sad comparison, this pair of head-hangers, to what Stay Hungry had accomplished only a year prior, ‘cos not even its four-alarm anthem warning of “We’re Not Gonna Take It” and “I Wanna Rock” would prepare (many of) us for the flabbergasting we’d experience in the presence of throwback, yet still pimple-faced, chock-fulla-guests “Be Chrool to Your Scuel”, possibly the most embarrassing 3:54 the genre had to endure since Michael Bolton snagged time and space on clueless ‘metal’ compilations like ‘83’s That’s Heavy (alongside Priest, Quiet Riot, Rock Goddess and, get this, Loverboy, Bryan Adams and Mother’s Finest) and ‘85’s Metalmania (with Priest its only rightful citizen). Well, it’s Bolton, Thor or the Lone Rager for this honor, yer pick.

It wasn’t for many, many years that this disc and I sat down for a chat. I think a chance encounter with its zealous title cut is what finally shortened the distance between us, galvanized by droplets of hope that blew like sweat off an authoritative chorus with a bit of bloat and into my ear. Luckily, when things finally crackled to life it led the way with this same The Warriors-incited, self-titled topic to ease my insecurities.

“…when you laugh and put us down…” "...nothing I ever do seems to ease my fury..."

Leading right into “Leader of the Pack” at the A2 slot is no coincidence, for it shares the same Stay Hungry spot as “We’re Not Gonna Take It”. Now, why TS have hung onto this particular cover for years as a serious part of their roster is a question I can only answer with dollar signs. I’d understand better, however, if it were some four-wheelin’ OTT anomaly they’d created, but theirs stays pretty close to the ’64 original, pointing to a better guarantee of radio play.

Additionally, the song itself, a girl group love tragedy (possibly strategic in cross dressed irony), is an oddball choice. I mean, I dunno, maybe while playing a set of originals in a club in like ’76 or ’77, right after the last note of “I’ll Never Grow Up Now!” but before ripping into “Lady’s Boy”, a none-too-impressed patron sarcastically yells for them to play something the audience may actually know, and with a snide Snider chuckle he belts out “I met her at the candy store…!” to some laughs when suddenly a 600 watt light bulb flashes over his head and he's been blackmailing the other guys in keeping it around ever since. Or it’s a childhood fave of his. He’s what, nine years old for its first crackle over the radio. Info about this exists somewhere, I’m sure.

Returning to song placement, both albums’ title tracks open the curtains to their respective a-sides, another no-brainer, but here’s where the Stay Hungry similarities come to a screeching halt, ‘cos “You Want What We Got” is to “Burn in Hell” as bowling is to powerlifting. Arrogantly-titled “YWWWG” is paced and played with the absolute basics in mind, and is a server of little purpose and would be the album’s gutter ball if not for “Be Chrool to Your Scuel”.

“…ain’t they got nothin’ between their ears?

A return to Stay Hungry tactics comes early on side two, where anticipated moneymaker “Be Chrool to Your Scuel” (gawd, I hate this title) tries very much in vain to act as this record’s “I Wanna Rock” with its side two kick off position and, more importantly, expected chart-scaling popularity which eventually dies in a heap of unsold singles due in part to MTV banning its video (which featured Alice Cooper, Bobcat Goldthwait, Luke Perry and make-up scholar Tom Savini) ‘cos of its offensiveness, and further ascension disappears like the two and a half million more Stay Hungry sales this lp couldn’t see with a telescope. Not only that, the song’s just a self-serving, please-every-age-group rotting suck job.

As a parody of the Beach Boys’ “Be True to Your School”, “BCtYS” unearths a bunch of mostly alien instruments, in ’85, to metal to push its very Seger-ish “Old Time Rock and Roll” theme to its limit, a theme incomplete without the obligatory saxophone solo (performed by even-then legendary Clarence Clemmons) and the combined talent known as Uptown Horns, where tenor and baritone sax (Arno “Cool-Ray” Hecht and Crispin Cieo), trumpet (Hollywood Paul Litteral) and trombone (Bad Bob Funk), confidently supply its brassy big band backdrop. Another age appropriate solo straight from the greasy mind of Stray Cats guitarist Brian Setzer pays Chuck Berry/Buddy Holly homage, meanwhile a very hot Billy Joel, at the time in-between hit records, slides around plinking, cookie-cutter piano parts that couldn’t be left out of something like this if it’s gonna be successfully despised. Oh yeah, just because, Alice Cooper provides some additional fly-by vocals as do sisters Maxine and Julia Waters (part of the busy back-up singing group The Waters).

“…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…”

Now, the Twisted Ones got a hauled-off taste of anthem life while recording Stay Hungry, but cut their teeth on what coulda been their bona fide first in “You Can’t Stop Rock n’ Roll”. With COAP, we’re subject to saturation by wanna-be possible anthems, almost one right after another, which accounts for a pretty pedestrian b-side. So what follows “BCtYS” is “The Price” not-as-good counterpart in balladry “I Believe in You” with its obvious ‘yer not alone, kid’ message to youth (and expanding the celebrity guest list with Dokken’s Don Dokken and Great White’s Gary Holland on high harmony back-up detail), but lyrically gets eye-rollingly melodramatic with “when the toy’s upon the highest shelf, a child’s tears soon become stone”…well, I’ll just leave that right there to stink up the room.

What shoulda been a hot-headed or pressing follow-up is “Out on the Street”, which, while technically a mildly solid track reinforcing the neglected youth angle, really shoulda switched with up-next “Lookin’ Out For #1" (which may as well have been called “Get Ready to Rock”, or at least the chorus thinks so), anthem-hopeful written all over it like Keel’s “The Right to Rock” or Quiet Riot's "Metal Health”, but without a single issued or significant radio play is denied future commemoration. Same is true for “I Believe in Rock ‘n’ Roll”, whose more forceful chorus saves it from some of the mediocrity “LOF#1” toils away in.

It all ends with a return to form when sick motherfucker “Kill or be Killed” has to absorb all the killpower at least one or two tunes on the side shoulda already exploited and not only gives COAP an explosive Stay Hungry/“S.M.F.”-like send-off, but is anointed as one of the lp’s three truly heavy duty breadwinners alongside its excitable title cut and the dramatically surging “The Fire Still Burns”, which scorches the end of side one and speaks like “Captain Howdy”’s deserving descent into the underworld where he’ll “Burn in Hell” to the tune of diabolical, mirthless laughter of “The Beast”. It also sets itself ablaze among my fave TS tracks evah.

“…that I myself shall see, my own ears not another’s shall behold it…”

Now, according to the inner jacket, Mr. Snider is responsible for all lyrics and music except for those of the cover song, however producer Deiter Dierks and the rest of the Sistas are collectively credited with the songs’ arrangements, which could mean anything. So COAP is Dee’s show more or less, reinforced by a specialty, lp-only jacket where he and he alone inhabits the front cover’s sewer via pop-up manhole cover.

Annoyances caused by the music as well as the album’s packaging outnumber all other records in their discography, and one of these bothersome mosquito bites is the out of order tracklist on the rear jacket, then songs and their lyrics just plopped anywhere on the inner sleeve does nuthin’ to thaw my already somewhat frosted shorts, leaving me to shiver as I follow the spinning disc so I can tell which goddamn song is playing.

Ultimately, this is the album where, in mixed company, should you admit to being a TS fan after its ‘hits’ had sufficient time to wilt airwaves, you were more likely to be branded an idiot with the musical taste of a potato. That’s ‘cos most company’s TS awareness started and stopped with the too-well-known dual anthems on Stay Hungry and the piece of shit or two here, one with a title I refuse to even abbreviate one more time. Yep, this and “ewww Celtic Frost, how can you like those guys? Cold Lake was awful” are two of my faves.

“…get out of my way, I’m the hangman today…”

More polished doesn't mean it's bad - 88%

Wacke, July 18th, 2016
Written based on this version: 1985, CD, Atlantic Records

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.

(Don't) be chrool to your fans - 77%

Brainded Binky, February 28th, 2015

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.

Still mixed feelings - 75%

morbert, March 6th, 2008

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.

Come out and play it loud, mutha! - 85%

MetalReaper, August 29th, 2004

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 rag dolls 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 obeyed 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 catchy as glue. My next personal highlight is the next track, The Shangri-Las 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 its ball-crushing 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 combined 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?

The album that turned metal into rock! - 78%

PowerMetalGuardian, May 26th, 2003

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!!!