In the fall of 1989 I was 16 years old. This is important because back then, as is the case now, the music I listened to was my life, and my everything, as I’m sure it was for a lot of you when you were that age. Bands like POISON, CINDERELLA, and BON JOVI ruled the airwaves, but there’s one band in particular I wanna talk about in this episode of Classic Albums. And that band is DANGER DANGER and their self-titled debut. I know, the name isn’t the greatest, and neither is the album artwork. But still, after seeing them on MTV something told me to get their record. So, on a cold, windy Thursday after getting paid from my job at King Kullen I biked over to Uncle Phil’s and picked up the cassette.
Opening things up is “Naughty Naughty”, which is your stereotypical catchy single. This was glam rock/melodic rock at its finest, even if the lyrics are very cliché . Back then I sang along loudly. And I love it to this day. Next up is “Under the Gun”, singer Ted Poley sounding so passionate it almost hurts, while bassist Bruno Ravel and drummer Steve West lock down the rhythms. At the same time the guitars come in riff-heavy thanks to Tony “Bruno” Rey. “Saturday Nite” features Dallas guitarist extraordinaire Andy Timmons. Had the pleasure of meeting him at JFK Airport back in 1990 and the guy couldn’t have been nicer! He also signed my band MIDNIGHT ANGEL’S demo tape, despite being cleary tired as hell. Such a great guy!
“Don’t Walk Away” is a pretty ballad, something I’ve been a sucker for since the age of 12. I can’t recall if this one was a single or not, but every time it came on in my Walkman while I prowled the halls of Massapequa High School I found myself smiling while thinking of an afternoon make-out session with my girlfriend at the time. From here we go to “Bang Bang”, which at first glance, and with regard to the band name and first single, would make you think this band has a stuttering stuttering problem problem. Still, it’s a catchy number tailor-made for radio and MTV at the time, and it did very well.
And now, on Side Two, here it is. My favorite DANGER DANGER song forever and ever Amen. “Rock America” is the quintessential tune designed to be blared from car speakers everywhere, and one I play every year on the 4th of July while I grill. The vocal harmonies, the lyrics, and guitar work make for one monster of a tune! I also love second vocalist Paul Laine’s live version because it appeals to the United States Army Veteran in me (1992-1998) and every time I hear both renditions it makes me proud to be an American. Man, when I had my ‘79 Plymouth Horizon I used to play this one over and over with the boombox on the floor!!
“Boys Will Be Boys” is a cool song because you can tell the band is into it. Plus, Andy Timmons again, DUH! And next we come to a double shot of beautiful and heartfelt songs in “One Step From Paradise” and “Feels Like Love.” I’m gonna make a confession here since I’m sure a few ex-girlfriends will probably see this. Yes, I put these songs on your mixtapes because at that very moment in time I was crazy head-over-heels in love with you. This was the late 80’s into early 90’s and I was 16-20 years old. Like I knew what the fuck I was doing relationship-wise?? I’m sure many of my fellow stupid males did the same thing. Still, the former is a gorgeous ballad, and the latter is such a feel-good song about new love that they’ll forever stay with me.
“Turn It On” and “Live It Up” are awesome party time tunes that close the record perfectly. The band is in full swing, and Poley sings his ass off. Bottom line is this: DANGER DANGER’S self-titled debut provided the soundtrack to so many memories for me, and I’m sure it does for a lot of you too. From make-ups to break-ups, this tape was with me for so many years and got me through so much stuff. So yeah, for that reason, among many others, this will forever be in my Classic Albums. ~dc