Twisted Sister

Stay Hungry (Atlantic ’84) Rating: A-
Although they had some minor successes with their first two albums, Stay Hungry was their blockbuster breakthrough. Primarily remembered for its ridiculously simplistic and repetitive but ridiculously catchy teen anthems "We're Not Gonna Take It" and "I Wanna Rock" (both of which were accompanied by amusing movie videos that aired incessantly on MTV), this album is a hell of a lot of fun, though part of it may be nostalgia on my part as my teenage self was a huge fan of this album when it first came out and I was first getting into heavy metal. And this is a legitimate heavy metal album, albeit a very commercial one, though the band are sometimes dismissed as a "hair band" despite the fact that main man Dee Snider was anything but a pretty boy! OK, the band’s glammed up look was part of it, but much of the blame for that moniker is also probably because of "The Price," the album's obligatory "power ballad" hit but a good one for what it is, and elsewhere there's lots of hard rocking goodness, including the terrific hard-charging title track and the mock horror tales that to me form the true heart of the album, "Burn In Hell" and the two-part "Horror-Teria: (The Beginning)," all of which sport heavy and memorable riffs, lyrics that make me smile and aren't meant to be taken seriously, and catchy choruses that I can't help but sing along to (p.s. they're really three songs as "Captain Howdy" and "Street Justice" are quite different and are easily self-contained; what they both have in common is simply that they're damn good). "Don't Let Me Down" is another good one with similar virtues as several other songs, namely a tuneful melody and a good overall performance, including an easily singable chorus and a nothing fancy but highly effective guitar solo. "The Beast" is quite heavy but is the only song here that I don't really care for, though it's not bad or anything and besides the stomping "S.M.F." then brings things to a respectable close, though the album certainly finishes weaker than it starts (as do most albums). Anyway, I still enjoy listening to Twisted Sister's biggest and in my opinion best album, cheesy and ridiculous though it may at times be, and Stay Hungry was certainly the last time that the band was a major commercial force, as the 1985 follow up Come Out and Play was a comparative stiff and Snyder is now perhaps better known as a radio personality than a music maker.

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