Blue Tears – “Blue Tears” (1990)

Blue TearsAnother reviewer pointed out that the Blue Tears album is basically an overt attempt to combine Bon Jovi’s Slippery When Wet and Def Leppard’s Hysteria.  I could not agree more!  (In fact, I’m about to echo almost every point made in that review.)  It seems to me that Blue Tear’s leader Gregg Fulkerson (writer, vocals, guitars, keyboards) saw the mind-boggling success of the aforementioned albums and thought he could do with them what Resse’s did with peanut butter and chocolate.  Sounds like a pretty sound business venture to me — on paper, at least.  After all, those two albums each sold in the tens of millions.  If Blue Tears could have managed to siphon some residual table scraps from those kind of sales — to even sniff the underwear of those albums — they could have (maybe) sold a cool half-million.  Of course, it didn’t turn out that way.  That’s because even when you make a shrewd business move like Blue Tears, at the end of the day the odds are almost insurmountable for rock bands to “make it”.  It also didn’t help that Blue Tears came out a few years after Slippery When Wet and Hysteria, or that the album was released by one of the worst rock labels — MCA.

Gregg Fulkerson drew “inspiration” from Jon Bon Jovi with regards to his singing style and his lyrics.  But since Jon Bon Jovi’s lyrics were essentially a rip-off of Bruce Springsteen, I’m not sure what we call Fulkerson’s lyrics.  A double rip-off?  Meanwhile, the production on Blue Tears takes its “inspiration” from Mutt Lange’s knob job on Hysteria.  Each chorus comes by way of an army of voices meticulously layered together, and the snare drum has that stiff, over-processed sound that Hysteria helped spread like the plague across the late-eighties rock landscape.

The cynic in me cries out that Blue Tears is nothing but a soulless imitation of two soulless records.  Yes, I do think that Slippery When Wet and Hysteria were soulless — but I won’t deny that they were packed with hits.  I also cannot deny that Fulkerson also knew how to write hits.  It’s just these particular hits never became actual hits.  Album opener Rockin’ With The Radio could very well have made a splash in the mid-eighties when the likes of Sammy Hagar, Night Ranger, and Autograph were dominating the airwaves with their vanilla rock anthems.  And the song Crush would have certainly been a hit if it had been included on HysteriaCrush is basically the best song Def Leppard never wrote!  (Listen for yourself here.)  I would like to think that in some parallel universe that strippers are “putting themselves through college” dancing to Crush instead of Pour Some Sugar On Me.  The truth is, about half of Blue Tears is pretty darn entertaining.  Call it a guilty pleasure.  My score: B- 

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