Propelled by three legit rock hits — 18 And Life, I Remember You, and Youth Gone Wild, Skid Row was a smash success for this band of New Jersey street urchins and their Canadian front man. Lead singer Sebastian Bach, with his six-foot frame and girlish mug, became a breakout star when Skid Row hit the scene. His face was plastered all over rock mags, as I recall. This, despite the fact that the songs on Skid Row were written predominantly by bassist Rachel Bolen and guitarist Dave “Snake” Sabo. The duo penned raunchy tunage in line with their band’s sleazy moniker. Perhaps a little heavier than the typical hair band, but still hair metal to the bone.
Producer Michael Wagener kind of botched the production on Skid Row. The mix is thin on guitars and heavy on vocals, all the while keeping that dreaded ’80s drum sound in full. Fact is, Skid Row should have received the Appetite For Destruction treatment, but instead ended up with the Look What The Cat Dragged In treatment thanks to Wagener.
On Skid Row, Bach’s vocals are the album’s focal point. Though I’m not sure the other boys in Skid Row would ever admit it, Sebastian Bach is the reason this album is a hair metal classic. I mean, Bach was an absolute tour de force on I Remember You — one of the better power ballads of the era. Of course, Bach never knew a syllable he couldn’t over-sing to the max. That is to say, I do roll my eyes quite a bit while listening to Skid Row, thanks to Bach’s insistence on chewing up every inch of tape.
I mentioned the three “hits” from Skid Row. All three are absolutely killer. However, I am actually a little surprised that the remainder of Skid Row doesn’t really measure up to those three big hits. There are a couple of decent deep tracks in Can’t Stand The Heartache and Big Guns, but overall the album cuts are a little disappointing. Nevertheless, a must-own for any self-respecting hair aficionado. My score: A-