The Top Ten Songs by Poison

Hair metal will always hold a special place in my heart and Poison was always the best of the best. Here is my list of their top ten songs for Poison.

Poison has always been a dirty, little secret, a band that I like purely for the fun in their music, except for a couple songs. The top two on the list are a lot more serious and are far and away the best that Poison ever performed.

The remainder of the top ten list are the songs that you never admit to your sophisticated, adult friends that you still love and always have. Of course, i just admitted that I love Poison, so I’ve already violated that rule.

Number one on my Poison top ten list is “Something to Believe In”. The song is the most political of any hair band song out there. Released in early 1990, it addressed the issues of homelessness and mental illness, especially as they related to Vietnam veterans, both hot button social issues in the post-Reagan, post-do-what-feels-good 1980s.

The song was released as a single from the mishmash album, Flesh & Blood. The music of the album was a bit eclectic, even for Poison’s fans because it features the unrestrained, lyrically-challenged “Unskinny Bop” and deeply intelligent, emotional songs like the number one and number two on this list, “Something to Believe In” and “Ride the Wind.”

While “Something to Believe In” was a classic anti ’80s way to end the decade, “Ride the Wind” was a more pronounced statement of personal independence and freedom. Both made the insipid lyrics of “Unskinny Bop” that much more unbearable.

It’s not that I object to Poison’s purely fun, rock anthems. In fact, it was those somgs that first attracted me to the band. At number three on the list is the first Poison video I saw, which earns points for being an anti-work anthem worthy of Johnny Paycheck’s “Take This Job and Shove” and for featuring Kiss playing in the background at the beginning of the video. “Nothing But a Good Time” was the working teen’s song of the decade.

And, if it was the working man’s song, the horny teenagers songs were number four and five “Talk Dirty to Me” and “I Want Action”. Neither song made any claim to be anything other than a feel good, let’s have sex song. “Talk to Dirty Me” was the song for figuring out where you could hook up and “I Want Action” was the very direct approach, but must have worked for some people.

“Every Rose Has Its Thorns” is the number six song on the top ten list. It probably would have ranked higher, but nearly two decades later, I’m still a little sick of it. The song spent something like 6 months at the top of the MTV video countdown and by the time it finally fell from the top ten, it had been played and played to death.

“Fallen Angel”, the song at number seven, also got a lot of video airplay, but not to the point of toxic over-exposure like “Every Rose Has its Thorns”.

At number eight and nine are two more from Poison’s first album. At eight, the title song for “Look What the Cat Dragged In,” another sex laden anthem from the ’80s. And, at number nine, the power ballad, such as it was, from the first album, “Cry Tough.”

The song probably would have made a little more sense with a different name as the translation of “Hang in There” or “Fight for it” into “Cry Tough” seemed strange, but millions of fans, including me, believed them when Poison told us, “You’ve gotta cry tough to make your dreams happen.”

Finally, at number 10 in the top ten list, we have “Your Momma Don’t Dance”. The boys in the band somehow brought the boogie-woogie into rock ‘n roll and made it work. So, “where do you go to rock ‘n roll?”

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