We shouldn’t be too surprised that Bruce Dickinson’s first solo album sounded nothing like Iron Maiden. After all, we have to assume that Bruce wanted to either experiment with different sounds or find an alternate outlet for his music ideas through a solo venture. He had to be looking for something he wasn’t getting with Maiden, right? Why else go solo? As such, expectations should be adjusted accordingly when spinning Tattooed Millionaire for the first time. Unlike Maiden songs, these songs are crafted in a straightforward hard rock style, with catchy and oft-repeated choruses. (Note: Dickinson co-wrote the album with guitarist Janick Gers.)
My thoughts? So glad you didn’t ask. Let’s get something out-of-the-way right off the bat — side two of this album pretty much blows. Dickinson devolves into self-parody through lame lyrics and over-sold vocals on side two. He really hams it up. Bruce sounds like such an idiot on side two that I am embarrassed for him. He tried to be clever, but instead came off as a damn fool! Take side two and throw it away.
Now, as for side one — this is where the action is! These songs are actually very memorable. Yes, the lyrics are a bit suspect here and there, but the hooks will stick in your head for days. And yes, there are a few times on side one where Dickinson over-sells on vocals (like the verse sections of Tattooed Millionaire), but the overall outcome on side one is positive. Truth is, Tattooed Millionaire would have been an excellent EP if it was trimmed down to just these first five songs! But I still have to knock down my rating for the silliness of side two. My score: B-