I finally purchased Vh1 Classic Metal Mania Stripped 3. While there are a few low notes, the album is more hit than miss.
Third in the VH1 acoustic series, the album includes the tracks:
Poison- Unskinny Bop
Shaw/Blades - High Enough
Tesla - Signs
Winger - Headed for a Heartbreak
Dokken - In My Dreams
Firehouse - When I Look Into Your Eyes
Ratt - Way Cool Jr.
Jani Lane - Heaven
Autograph - Turn Up the Radio
Tom Keifer - Nobody's Fool
Kix - Don't Close Your Eyes
Eric Martin - Just Take My Heart
Queensryche - The Killing Words
Slaughter - Up All Night
Accept - Balls to the Wall
Perhaps the best performance on the album is the Firehouse track. Originally recorded for their 1996 release Good Acoustics, "When I Look Into Your Eyes" is a solid performance and the quality sounds very close to the original single release.
Kip Winger delivers a home run with his new recording of "Headed for a Heartbreak." I can say the same for Shaw/Blades and their rendition of "High Enough."
It's always a little alarming to hear a metal song turned acoustic for the first time, and sometimes the unplugged versions just don't work. Mark Slaughter sings about half the words on "Up All Night." That track was taken from a live performance at the Key Club, and it sounds like the crowd was having a good time. I think executive producer Jamie Talbot made a mistake allowing this song on the album. Then again, executive producers often make many mistakes.
On first listen of "Way Cool Jr." I was disappointed. After a few spins, I changed my mind and I actually think the track is pretty good. Taken from MTV Unplugged, it sounds like Stephen Pearcy was in a good mood and willing to work.
Also interesting is Poison's acoustic take on "Unskinny Bop." I do love Poison, but at times guitarist C.C. DeVille is completely off key. I think at one point Bret Michaels sings the wrong words.
The album art and liner notes leave a lot to be desired. Radio and VH1 Classic host Eddie Trunk provides two paragraphs of worthless notes, including the sentence "Yes, my friends in hard rock and metal, it's OK to like this stuff and be proud of it; it's become an entire generation's classic rock."
Gee. I don't even know what to do with a statement so...pointless.
I should probably note that I am a firm believer that metal should be plugged in and LOUD. I don't really care for acoustic performances, but the relentless marketing campaign during Metal Mania sucked me in and I felt I had to own this disc. If you like acoustic performances then you should probably buy the album too. If you prefer your metal more pure, save your 15 bucks for beer.
Sidenote: Kudos to Hairball John for making it into the liner notes. Also, there's a new Bring Back Glam posting over at www.hairballjohnradioshow.com.