After doing the Danger Danger Album Ranking, I thought why not continue and do all of Paul Laine’s albums as well. So, here we are with Paul Laine’s albums ranked Worst to First!. Who is Paul Laine you might ask? I will tell you.
Paul is a singer, songwriter, musician, producer from Vancouver, Canada. He started out as a solo artist way back in 1990 and later joined the band Danger Danger as their lead singer. He also formed a band called Shugaazer, a band called Darkhorse and a band called The Defiants. He likes band names that start with “D” except for Shugaazer so not sure what he was thinking there.
Paul is a gifted singer and sings mostly Rock and his voice has matured nicely over the years. It has gone from a wild-untamed sound to a more controlled, smooth instrument. And he has even delved into Country music (more on that later).
I have followed his career from the beginning thanks to working at Sam Goody back in 1990. His CD came in to the store as a promo copy (and I played it a lot) and when it was time for that CD to retire from the playlist, yours truly got to take it home with him. It was from that point on, that Paul could do no wrong (even though he has had a few missteps).
It is out of that fandom, I bring you this list. Enjoy!!
THE WORST – ANDERSEN, LAINE, READMAN – THREE (2006):
This is an interesting side project from Andre Andersen. Andre is the keyboardist and composer in the band Royal Hunt. Andre brought in two sensational voices to split the songs. You have David Readman of Pink Cream 69 and Paul Laine. They each get 5 songs and for the most part the songs rock and as a set is pretty cool.
However, the songs for me were mostly forgettable as it might be the album I listen to least only because it is not 100% Paul Laine. I would say “Rise” and “The Way It Goes” are the two best songs of Paul’s on the album. The other three are so-so. For these reasons, it is The Worst of the bunch!!
#10 – CAN’T GET ENUFF (1996):
This is Paul’s 2nd solo album, but it is really more of a collection of demos as opposed to an actual album. It was also produced by Paul which is usually not a good thing to produce yourself. It is rough around the edges, it is a little uncontrolled and it needed to be reined in a little in places. Production and sound is overall poor. That is the negative.
The positive is that is still Paul Laine and there are still some gems hidden in the midst of all those songs. I think if there was an outside producer, there could have been some magic on this release. I liked “Walking the Dog”, “Can’t Get Enuff”, “Riding the Wind”, “One More Night” and “Two Sides of Love”. But they are demos and a lot of filler, but as a fan…it is a must have in the Paul Laine collection and my copy is in my car right now.
#9 – DARKHORSE – LET IT RIDE (2014):
I am not sure why this isn’t the worst album. It is Paul Laine going COUNTRY!! Holy Hell, what is this!! it is really hard for me to accept Paul doing Country. Hell, it is hard for me to ever hear a rock singer try and go country. It isn’t believable and Country needs to be believable. The album came out in 2014 and this was the first time I listened to it since so I can remember it and rank it properly. I am not sure I have as maybe it should be The Worst!
Now let’s forget the Country part. The production quality is actually sensational. The songs are catchy and are a little better than the Bro-Country that is out there. A couple of the more catchy songs are “You Were the One I Waited For”, “Better Days” and “In The Country”. Now, if he would have rocked these songs out, they probably would have worked for me a lot better. Sadly, I think another one is coming out this year so it will be interesting to hear that and see if it gets better or worst!!
#8 – DANGER DANGER – DAWN (1995):
The first album with lead singer Paul Laine (although not technically the first – see Cockroach below). The band 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 is was what I liked about.
#7 – DANGER DANGER – 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 its 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 they switch singers. It really is a great comparison of how different the two singers are. Here is “Afraid of Love” by each singer…
#6 – DANGER DANGER – THE RETURN OF THE GREAT GILDERSLEEVES (2000):
The final Paul Laine album with Danger Danger 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 about 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.
You could call this Danger Danger 2.0 as it is the whole Danger Danger gang back together again. The reason it isn’t a Danger Danger album is because the band Danger Danger was active again with former lead singer Ted Poley. Luckily for us the guys are still great friends and we get more music. The album is a little more 80’s Rock Retro and a 100% good time. They take you back to the 80’s to relive the glory days of music (okay, they are my glory days since I was in High School then).
The opening track “Love and Bullets” comes exploding out the gates and you get a ton of guitar solos!! I Love Guitar Solos!! I really love “Waiting on a Heartbreak”, “Last Kiss”, and “Take Me Back”. And don’t forget the ballad as “Save Me Tonight” is the best 80’s ballad in 2016!! It is a throwback and came at a perfect time. I hear there is another album coming out this year!! I can’t wait and can’t wait to see where it will wind up on this list when it does come out.
‘Zokusho’ is the band’s second album and the word actually means “sequel” or “next chapter” in Japanese which is actually what this record is. The band picks up right where they left off on their debut. We have all the 80’s themes on this album, falling in love, losing love and drinking & partying, all wrapped nicely in a package that is nothing but a good time. The Defiants take you back to an era of music that was all about fun. They stepped it up and gave us an even better album than their debut.
“Love is the Killer” opens the set in the same vein as “Love and Bullets” did on the debut. It is bombastic and it sets the tone nicely of what is to come. And the other outstanding rockers are “Standing on the Edge”, “Hollywood in Headlights”, “Alive” (which sounds like U2), “Allnighter” and “Drink Up”. They have ballad type songs as well with “Fallin’ For You” and “You X’d My Heart” as well as “Hold On Tonight”. You can’t go wrong with any of it.
#3 – DANGER DANGER – 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.
#2 – STICK IT IN YOUR EAR (1990)
The debut album back in 1990. What an introduction to a great and talented artist. The record company had high hopes as Bruce Fairbairn was the producer and he worked his magic. The production quality was great, the songs were perfect for the time and Paul’s voice was so young and rough around the edges that gave it its charm. He had the hair, he had the looks, he had the songs, but the only thing that he didn’t have was timing as this was a rough time for the so called ‘hair band’ genre which this was unfortunately dumped into.
The album opens with the epic “One Step Over the Line” and is a full on assault from the word go. He completely rocks out and screams his way through the album. It is fan’freaking’tastic. Even the ballads, yes there are ballads, are outstanding from “Is It Love” to “I’ll Be There”. But the rocking songs are just as good with “We Are the Young” and “Break Down the Barricades” and most especially “Dorianna”. It is a good time had by all.
#1 – SHUGAAZER – SHIFT (2004)
As Paul is constantly writing, he found an outlet with this new band out of Canada. It was definitely a more modern sound for Paul since he was used to doing more of a Melodic Rock sound. Here you get modern rock and even modern pop as the songs were diverse. What you also get might be some of the best songwriting Paul has ever done.
The band is also amazing and Paul has never sounded better. This is one album where I would not delete or skip one track. One of the most stellar tracks is the John Lennon tribute “Song for Lennon” (might be his best song ever). Not to be outdone is “Something Worth Waiting For” and “Beautiful”. Whatever song it is from the opening track of “Kozmonaut” to “Enough”, you will never get ‘enough’ of it and put it on constant repeat. If you were to get one album, get this one…and then go get all the rest!!!
And there you have it, the Paul Lane 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. And if as a result, you find something new, then my job is done!!!