It all started for me back in 1990 when I saw Danger Danger open up for Kiss. I was really impressed by their stage performance and the songs. I had to check them out. They were touring in support of their debut, self-titled album which was released in 1989 and I went out and bought it within that week after the show. I have followed their career ever since.
The band has had two lead singers (they had another prior to any album coming out, but doesn’t count for this list and since I am not including the “Rare Cuts” compilation). The first for me was Ted Poley. He is currently the lead singer again. From the mid-90’s to early ’00’s, the singer was Paul Laine. Each have 3 studio album and a cool combo set included in this list for a total of 7 albums ranked. No live albums or any compilations included.
The classic line-up for me is Bruno Ravel (bass/guitar), Steve West (drums), Andy Timmons (guitar), Kasey Smith (Keyboards) and Ted Poly (vocals). When they switched out with Paul Laine (vocals) I was perfectly happy as he was a great singer and I loved his debut album ‘Stick It In Your Ear’. The line-up has change over the years, but Bruno and Steve have been the constants.
The band is a story of two different bands. The beginning was all having a good time, full of fun and excitement with songs about Sex, Sex, Rock & Roll and more Sex…did I mention sex?? Then they became more serious tone, with a more mature sound and flat out better song writing. Both bands I liked equally as they each brought something to the table. I think they are worth checking out, but they might not be everyone’s cup of tea. I hope you enjoy…
WORST – REVOLVE (2009):
In 2004, Ted Poley rejoined the band and several years later they finally released a comeback album of sorts. With high hopes, I snatched this one up. Maybe my expectations were too high because the album was a big let down for me. Ted sounded great, but the songs fell flat. I guess I as expecting more of the raunch from his first time with the band (and there is a little). It was also missing the fun. The band had so much fun those first couple of albums and you could feel it. It resonated with you. This one didn’t.
Not to say it is all bad. There are some good tracks on this one including “That’s What I Am Talking About” and “Keep On Keeping On”. The fun I was talking about was captured on “FU$” which reminded me of old school DD. The Poley era’s ballads were always top notch, but these were so overly cheesy it was hard to get past (“Rocket to your Heart”). It was a disjointed album for me overall and that is why it is at the bottom (I hate to say “Worst”, but that is what the series is called so this was it for me).
#6 – DAWN (1995):
The first album with lead singer Paul Laine (although not technically the first – see Cockroach below). The album got back together with a new lead singer and since their last album the music scene had changed significantly. Nirvana and grunge had come along and destroyed all the fun in music. This album as a result had a more gritty sound with darker themes and a completely different vibe than Danger Danger of old. This is probably why it wasn’t higher on the list. It missed the mark a little more than the others.
Now that doesn’t mean I don’t like this album. It only means out of the 3 Paul Laine albums, this is the one I spin slightly less than the others. There were several great tracks that rocked out including “Helicopter”, “Crawl” and the ball-buster “Wide Awake and Dead”. The ballads weren’t really ballads they were just slower tracks and “Sorry” was the best one on the album. A darker tone it was what I liked about.
#5 – COCKROACH (2001):
Cockroach is an interesting and totally cool album. After the band’s second album, they recorded a third with lead singer Ted Poley, but he was fired before it’s release. So, the band hired Paul Laine and he recorded the album as well. Well, someone sued someone else and back and forth and the record company wouldn’t release the album. The album finally was released some 7-8 years later and they released both in the same set. One disc Paul’s vocals and one Ted’s. Totally cool!! When does that ever happen.
A lot of the songs ended up on other albums so we got to hear a lot of them before this was released so that is why it is down a little as I fell in love with those other albums first. Whose vocals do I like better on this, that is up to you. For me, I did enjoy Paul’s better on most of the songs. If it was a ballad, I tended to enjoy Ted’s more. It really depended on the song. Too many favorites to list, but I kinda wish bands could do this more often when the switch singers. It really is a great comparison of how different the two singers are. Here is “Afraid of Love” by each singer…
#4 – DANGER DANGER (1989):
Their debut album titled Danger Danger with songs like “Bang Bang” and “Naughty Naughty”…I am noticing a trend!! Both songs are great hair band rock songs. They were the epitome of the Hair Metal scene and probably the poster-child for influences on Steel Panther. The album had the Rock Anthems like “Rock America” and it had the ballads such as “Don’t Walk Away” and “One Step From Paradise. They could do great ballads.
The album was so over the top cliched that you couldn’t help but love it. It was sexed-up rock & roll and then some. I think they went to the Gene Simmon’s school of lyrics. Ted’s vocals were so spot on and with Timmons guitar and Ravel’s bass, it was a lethal combination. They were crafter to be successful with one big problem. They came in too late in the game and shortly that scene would die.
#3 – THE RETURN OF THE GREAT GILDERSLEEVES (2000):
The final Paul Laine album was so good. This album completely rocked out with some of their grittiest, heaviest songs including “Grind” and “Get in the Ring” both coming at you with all the attitude and anger. They also had the songs that were straight up fun rock songs such as “When She’s Good She’s Good (When She’s Bad She’s Better)” and “Dead Drunk and Wasted”. The boys were showing they could rock and still have fun just like in the old days.
One of the coolest songs on the album for me was “Six Million Dollar Man” which had some vocal lines from the actual ‘Six Million Dollar Man’ TV show. The song was all abou the show and even mentioned Jamie Summers. A great nostalgic song. And ballads, yes they still have the ballads even in 2000. The best one on this album was “She’s Gone” and I don’t know if I would label it as a ballad but “I Do” was great as well. So many good songs. But 2 I liked better…
#2 – FOUR THE HARD WAY (1997):
‘Four the Hard Way” was the band’s fourth album and it was the one that used most of the songs from the Cockroach album which is why that album is lower since I feel in love with this one first. You had “Still Kickin”, “Sick Little Twisted Mind”, “Goin’, Goin’, Gone” and “Afraid of Love”. It was the album that brought a little fun back into their music after ‘Dawn’.
Now, those were some great songs, but the new ones on the album were just as good or even better. You get “Jaded” and “Goin’ All the Way” which are awesome and you get two of my all time favorite DD songs. Those are “I Don’t Need You” and my personal favorite “Captain Bring Me Down” which might be their best songwriting of all of them. It doesn’t get much better than this…oh wait…it does as there is one more to go.
#1 – SCREW IT! (1991):
The band’s second album was no sophomore slump for me. This album was so raunchy, so filthy, so over-the-top sexual that you couldn’t help fall in love with how cheesy and how blatantly funny it was. It was sex and more sex and then it was love song after love song and it rocked the whole time. It was damn near perfect. Too bad it didn’t get any of its due as Grunge was taking over and this scene died out.
But really what was so great is the production, might be the best produced album in the lot. Not to be outdone was the musicianship on this album. Andy Timmons was a freaking beast on this album. His solos were some of the best. Musically they were hitting on all cylinders. Oh yeah, and Ted sounded great and was having so much fun…hell they all were. You could feel it and it transferred to you while you were listening.
The songs!! Oh yeah, in spades. The sexed-up songs were so much fun and there is no beating around the bush with the lyrics. The innuendos were flying left and right and sometimes they weren’t trying to cover up what they were trying to say. Songs like “Monkey Business”, “Slipped Her the Big One” and “Everybody Wants Some” left no one wondering what they were singing about. The ballads were some of their best including “Don’t Blame it On Love”, “Coming Home” and probably their best ever “I Still Think About You”. The whole album was spectacular from beginning to end. It was 100% fun and sometimes you just need FUN!!!
And there you have it, the Danger Danger studio albums in order of how I rank them from the worst to the best. Let me know what you think. Where did we differ and where did we agree. What is fun about these list is how differently each album impacts people. What I like, you might not, but we like the same band and that is all that matters really.