Who of the Hair Metal era, had lyrics that were worth anything?

Discussion in 'The Sound Hound Lounge' started by archtop, Aug 4, 2019.

  1. TubeStack

    TubeStack Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2009
    Down At The Balinese
    ... :rotflmao :rotflmao :rotflmao
    scr@tchy and NorCal_Val like this.
  2. stevel

    stevel Member

    Apr 6, 2008
    Hampton Roads, Virginia
    If you consider them Metal, certainly Rush. But hard to peg them as "Hair Metal".

    Queensryche for sure.

    Actually, Def Leppard had some crafty lyrics, some proto-rap stuff (that is they were heard doing it by most audiences before they heard actual rappers) and some "deeper" things:

    Somewhere in the distance I hear the bells ring
    Darkness settles on the town as the children start to sing
    And the lady across the street, she shuts out the night
    A cast of thousands waiting as she turns out the light

    London boys are gazing, the girls go hand in hand
    A pocket full of innocence, the entrance is grand
    The queen of the dream stands before them all
    She stretches out her hand as the curtain starts to fall

    Standing by the trap door, aware of me and you
    The actor and the clown, they're waiting for their cue
    And there's a lady over there, she's acting pretty cool
    But when it comes to playing life, she always plays the fool

    Too Late for Love.

    And I'm sorry, but "you got the peaches I got the cream, sweet to taste, saccharine is pretty darn clever ;-)
    Serious Poo likes this.
  3. stevel

    stevel Member

    Apr 6, 2008
    Hampton Roads, Virginia

    Seriously, forget the lyrics, it's all about George - that tone, the solos, oh my god. Bridges the gap between VH and Nuno.
    Surveyor 777 and theRagman like this.
  4. OM Flyer

    OM Flyer Member

    Jan 16, 2008
    An island of blue in a sea of red
    I'll take your word for it. They sure were a fun live band, though. :dude
  5. primemover12

    primemover12 Member

    Jun 2, 2013
    It's a pretty mixed bag trying to find depth in 80s glam metal. Too bad, too, since some of the musicianship is pretty damned impressive. Sometimes, the best lyrics came on the same vinyl with the worst of the worst.

    For example:
    Warrant's "Cherry Pie" is gross and dumb; but "Uncle Tom's Cabin" and "Bed of Roses" on the same album were pretty damned great.

    Winger's second album is about half cheesy party rock and half prog glam. I'd especially nominate "Rainbow in the Rose," "Under One Condition," and "In the Heart of the Young" as good to great lyrics for the genre.

    Great White always sounded like a mean bar band more than a glam band, but they had the look for a few albums. I personally love "All Over Now," "On the Edge," and "House of Broken Love." But they're also responsible for some dorky and gross clunkers like "Mista Bone"

    As others have suggested, Diamond Dave was the class of the hair metal generation of lyricists. In addition to songs like "Little Dreamer," "Push Comes to Shove," and "And the Cradle Will Rock," he's written several interesting, artsy, and weird things on his solo albums. Check out "Big Trouble," "Ladies Night in Buffalo," "Hina," "Perfect Timing," "Tell the Truth," "Dogtown Shuffle," "Drop in the Bucket," "Experience," "Sunburn," and "Black Sand."

    Oh, how about White Lion? In addition to the usual cliches, they wrote songs like "Little Fighter," "Wait," and "When the Children Cry." The cheesier stuff wasn't particularly misogynistic; just dumb.

    Mostly though, glam metal was all about managing the twin expectations of youthful rebellion and commercial success. Anything that seemed too serious, earnest, or complicated was unlikely to make the cut. So don't expect philosophy here.
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2019
  6. Whiskey N Beans

    Whiskey N Beans Member

    Dec 30, 2009
    Sunset District
    Yeah, no one. But that wasn't the point. The music was for kids. You have to keep it simple.
  7. music321

    music321 Member

    Oct 20, 2012
    Greater New York Area
  8. guitarbilly74

    guitarbilly74 Supporting Member

    Jul 1, 2008
    Simpson, PA
    Not much in rock music these days, although some bands occasionally still do it. But it's mostly in pop and even country music these days, which is unfortunate because it used to be an integral part of rock music. Even bands like The Beatles, Zep, Jimi etc had their share of goofy tracks.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm all for deep, well written lyrics too, but sometimes fun is well... fun.

    Putting the 80s aside, nothing wrong with "Alright Now" , "Foxy Lady" "Cheap Sunglasses" "Brown Eyed Girl" etc... Rock N Roll does not always need deep lyrical content. I wish more modern rock bands would remember that.
    Thumpalumpacus, sahhas and archtop like this.
  9. GuitarWanabe

    GuitarWanabe Member

    Jun 2, 2018
    W.A.S.P. - .... like a beast

    Ok, not entirely serious suggestion. But is this thread just for people to try and justify that they like it by trying to make it something it’s not designed to be?
  10. Chad11491

    Chad11491 Supporting Member

    Aug 6, 2011
    I don’t listen to it for the lyrics. The songs are usually awesome and a ton of fun to play. I couldn’t care less if the singer is waxing poetic about the deeper meaning of life. I’m there to have a good time. It’s something for me to do as a getaway from work and the real world a bit and the music is plain ol’ fun.
    Coalface1971 and Surveyor 777 like this.
  11. turntable_blues

    turntable_blues Member

    Nov 5, 2018
    Foo Fighters? Black Keys? not exactly "it's alright, party tonight, oh, she's so fine" lyrics, but also not exactly doom&gloom and socioeconomic commentary.

    There's fine middle land between a proper, "deep" stuff and outright "fun" stupidity, or in other words: it's not that you can only have fun if it's stupidly simple
    Thumpalumpacus likes this.
  12. Ben Furman

    Ben Furman Member

    May 23, 2005
  13. T Dizz

    T Dizz Member

    Jan 20, 2015
    Erotic City MN
    King's X
  14. Bobby D

    Bobby D Member

    Sep 23, 2008
    Key West
    Loved and lived that era. Tight pants, long hair, and makeup that whole decade.

    Lyrically, none of those bands were exactly Elvis Costello or Dylan.

    For me, the best heavy rock lyrics (not entirely hair metal) were Kings X and Living Colour.

    Always loved Rush, but they ain’t hair metal. Prog rock was a big influence.

    However, 80s buttrawk was not about Deep Thoughts - it was about “have a good time ALL the time” (Viv Savage, Spinal Tap)
  15. cvansickle

    cvansickle Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2004
    Atlanta, GA USA
    I'm ready to dodge the barbs, but I'll offer up the lyrics of Twisted Sister.

    Oh, you're so condescending
    Your gall is never-ending

    Just for a start...
  16. rstites

    rstites Member

    Nov 27, 2016
    Agreed. Rock'n'Roll is built on shallow bubblegum lyrics. Such renowned bands as the Beatles are pretty much 100% cheese when they made their name.* The lyrics are tame compared to 80's hair metal or modern rap, but that's only due to societal changes. They're still mostly about boys and girls getting together for a good time. If you're ok with lyrics about that general theme, but just want them a bit tamer there are a number of hair bands that did that, or largely did that, but just had cheesy lyrics.

    Funny anecdote: I had buddies going on about how bad hair metal band lyrics were who'd happily spin Led Zeppelin anytime at home. The dissonance of listening to Whole Lotta Love while complaining about Warrant lyrics is pretty funny.

    * Yeah, they tried to dial up the depth of their lyrics later, but it was only after they were huge. The hair bands that were around long enough tried to do that in many cases too.
  17. archtop

    archtop Member

    Jan 10, 2007
    Sydney, Australia
    Pleiades - King’s X

    When I look up at the stars at night
    What could I find beyond the light
    A hundred million worlds that we ignore

    Who can restrain pleiades
    Or know the laws of heavenly's
    How many times have we been wrong before

    Far off in the field I see a castle
    Today the people gather at the pole
    He tried to tell us all the world was spherical
    They burned his body but not his soul

    I love how this speaks to our smallness in the universe and the finiteness of what we know, and at the same time points out how institutional power and certainty can end up being just plain wrong... and it says it all very succinctly, and with subtlety.
    +NRG, Serious Poo and Thumpalumpacus like this.
  18. B Money

    B Money Member

    Jul 23, 2007
    c'mon guys, King's X does not belong in any thread about hair metal. If anything, at that time they were more of a prog-rock band more akin to Rush than Motley Crue.

    I'll suggest Love/Hate as having some pretty interesting lyrics for the era and genre. Yes they were mostly about the sunset strip and partying, but often took a pretty dark perspective. "Blackout in the Red Room" and "Wasted in America" are great albums and still hold up today IMO.
    Exodus5 likes this.
  19. whatizitman

    whatizitman Member

    Nov 21, 2018
    Here I am. Rock you in the Daddy Cave.
    Me too. But it's not just the insipid lyrics of 80s glam that made it a caricature of itself. Pop music has always been about the sound and hook of lyrics first and foremost, not necessarily the content. Some of the greatest rock had ridiculous lyrics (Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You). I personally tend to prefer rock that has some thoughtfulness to the lyrics. But I also deeply appreciate rock that is all about the groin. AC/DC, for example, will always be cool, no matter how silly the lyrics got.

    No, it was that every hair band had the exact same look and sound. And every year it got worse and worse, and more of a caricature. By the late 80s it had nowhere to go.

    For those on the thread touting Cinderella (for example) as lyrical pros, I would remind TGP that their biggest MTV hit was "Don't Know What You Got". Few songs characterize the most insipid and ridiculous parts of 80s glam rock (the ballad) more than that song.

    Cinderella is not AC/DC.

    The 80s had some very unique and varied music that made it to the mainstream. Yet, there was the hair bands that were almost like a rebuke to all that was interesting during that time. Not a bad thing in its own right. It's rock and roll, right? But it stayed far longer than it should, IMO. If it were just Motley Crue or Ratt, and then we all moved on, that would have been ok. No, LA and MTV had to run fun metal into the ground, over and over again, from ~83 to ~89. I get that some of the acts may have had better lyrics than others. Whoopdieffingdo. It all sounded exactly the same, and I couldn't turn the dial fast enough when any of it came on.
    Thumpalumpacus and gtrdave like this.
  20. sahhas

    sahhas Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2007
    Imaginary land....
    Well, Living Colour's Vivid came out at the tail end of "hair metal" but I don't think of them as "hair metal", but it's a great album.
    I always thought DLR had a great way with lyrics, not your standard "hair metal" stuff, but I wouldn't consider VH or his stuff "hair metal" , per say, but they were of the era.
    the band "Lock Up" , Tom Morello's pre-RATM band had a great album that came out during the late hair metal days, album flopped and all, but it was good.
    Tin Machine's first album also came out during late "hair metal" days, and certainly hit some hot topics of the day....although some don't think Bowie was at his best, I, actually love the album and think it's great....some great songs on there....
    Coalface1971 likes this.

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