Slaughter – “Stick It To Ya” (1990)

One of the tried and true ways to reach rock stardom in the late eighties and early nineties was by way of the “bad-boys-go-soft” method.  That is, act like a bad-ass, but sing a sensitive song.  Sing a power ballad.  Those wild-child rock stars getting all soft and emotional was the formula for $ucce$$!  But you see, you had to at least pretend to be “hard” in order for your sensitive side to pay off.  Women love the bad boy with the heart of gold, right?  And dudes can listen to the power ballads without feeling completely lame because, hey, “this band has hard songs, too!”.  Power ballads sold records, but if you made an album full of just ballads then you were basically an adult contemporary artist like a Michael Bolton.  (Still getting laid, but just by a different demographic.)  Anyhoo, Slaughter knew how the game was played, and played it to perfection.  They wrote just enough “heavy” songs to satisfy the quota.  The formula was simple.  Step one was to release a loud, rockin’ anthem to the world.  (Let them know you’re on the scene and that you’re pretty bad-ass.)  Slaughter released the hit Up All Night first.  Check.  Step one complete.  Now, it’s time to get rich!  Here comes the power ballad… Fly To The Angels.  Another hit!  (Slaughter even went a step further and followed Fly To The Angels with yet another ballad, the sappy, Hallmark-greeting-card-song, Spend My Life.)  Final tally?  Double platinum, bitch.  Easy, breezy, beautiful… Cover Girl.

My Worthless Opinion:  The original Stick It To Ya CD (1990) had 15 tracks, about 10 of which could have been singles.  No doubt, Slaughter was playing a numbers game and shooting for wide-reaching appeal.  A record for mass consumption like McDonald’s cheeseburgers or one-ply toilet paper.  I personally don’t have a problem with that.  I know what you’re thinking, we like our rock bands to be about the music and the “art”.  We don’t like them to be this calculating.  Oh well, whatever… give my ears some candy and they’re happy.  Truth be told, Stick It To Ya has some well-crafted tunage.  Personal faves include the heavy opener Eye To Eye, the party rocker Up All Night, and of course the monster ballad Fly To The Angels.  Stuff starts to feel a little dilute by album’s end, with a plethora of limp-wristed songs gumming up the works a bit.  Nevertheless, Stick It To Ya is a sugary little snack, full of empty calories.  Guaranteed to be waiting for you in the used CD section at your local record store.  Probably cost you less than $5.  My score: A-

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