Skid Row - Thickskin
Skid Row Records
Modern Hard Rock
12 songs (47:08)
Release year: 2003
Skid Row
Reviewed by Mike

After an unsuccessful bid to shop this album to various labels, Skid Row has decided to release this album independently. Quite frankly, I am not a bit surprised that no label showed interest in this album. First of all, the band must reestablish itself with new vocalist Johnny Solinger. No problem there, the guy definitely has an impressive set of pipes. The band's musical direction is undoubtedly the biggest obstacle to securing a decent record deal. Skid Row has dived full force into the world of modern rock, but have not completely abandoned their hard edged, catchy rock roots. Problem is this: your average teenage modern rock fan will not have any interest in an old name like Skid Row and die hard Skid Row fans will likely be turned off by the inundation of modern rock influences.

The Skids still haven't forgotten how to write a catchy hard rock tune. However, Matchbox 20 and SR-71 style rock will come to mind long before any memories of Youth Gone Wild or Monkey Business. In fact, most of this album would be quite at home on your local modern rock radio station slapped right between a Creed song and a Matchbox 20 song. There are a couple of moments that show flashes of the old school Skid Row sound: Thick is the Skin (the lead single of the album) and Lamb are both energetic, uptempo rockers that could have easily been on the Slave to The Grind album. I Remember You Too is an interesting punk rock version of the band's classic ballad from the debut album. Naturally, this version is nowhere near the original, but interesting nonetheless. I assume this track is an effort to bring modern rock fans and old fans of the band together with this album. That's pretty much the vibe I get from Thickskin as a whole. Bands such as Def Leppard (Slang), Warrant (Belly To Belly), Dokken (Shadowlife) have tried this approach before, only to suddenly return to their roots after serious fan backlash (Def Leppard - Euphoria, Warrant (Greatest & Latest), Dokken (Erase The Slate). My guess is that record labels noticed the same trend, and therefore passed on this album. Aside from the three old school inspired tracks I mentioned before, the rest of the album swings from laid back, modern sounding cuts such as Down and See You Around to uptempo, catchy modern rock numbers such as Ghost and Born A Beggar. There is a handful of filler material to be found as well. For example, Swallow Me, Hittin' The Wall, and One Light are uneventful at best. In all fairness to the band, I will admit that fans of modern rock will find a lot to like on Thickskin. The production is excellent, and the guitar work still has some bite to it. Aside from the filler tracks, the Skids' new material is well written music that could resonate very well with the modern rock crowd if strategically marketed. However, as I pointed out earlier, that just isn't going to happen. It's going to be very difficult to market Skid Row to anyone but die hard fans of yesteryear that are still aware of the band's existence. Furthermore, the fans that are still there (like me) aren't likely to take very well to this modern rock direction. This is true especially due to the ability to discover many new bands all over the world via the internet.

For those of you who enjoy the modern rock scene AND old school hard rock such as Slave to the Grind, you're certainly the target audience of this album. Those of you hoping for the Skids to hold on to the no frills, kick ass hard rock sound might want to check some sound bits before shelling out for this one. I've given this albums about twenty listens, and while I don't hate the album at all, I feel the urge to listen to the debut and Slave To The Grind to hear the Skids at their best. Having said that, it's hard to give a solid recommendation for this album. Thickskin will be a difficult sell to new fans and old fans alike: try before buy!

Killing Songs :
Thick Is The Skin, Lamb
Mike quoted 40 / 100
Other albums by Skid Row that we have reviewed:
Skid Row - Slave to the Grind reviewed by Koeppe and quoted 92 / 100
Skid Row - Revolutions Per Minute reviewed by Mike and quoted 30 / 100
Skid Row - Skid Row reviewed by Ben and quoted 85 / 100
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