Skid Row - Revolutions Per Minute
Chaotic mix of Rock, Punk, and Hillbilly!
12 songs (40:24)
Release year: 2006
Skid Row, SPV
Reviewed by Mike
Crap of the month

After the huge disappointment of Thickskin, my expectations for the new Skid Row album were muted to say the very least. Back in the band's heyday of the late 80's and early 90's, you'd never hear me saying anything bad about this band. Oh my, how things change. As you may have read in some of my past reviews, I feel that most American rock bands from the 80's that have attempted comebacks or reunion albums in recent years largely disappoint. There are exceptions such as the killer new Leatherwolf album, but watching bands like Tesla, Babylon A.D., Pretty Boy Floyd, Ratt, Europe, and Dokken release mediocre to downright terrible material is painful. The release of Thickskin by Skid Row lead me to put Skid Row in the "Reunions that should not have happened" category. While Revolutions Per Minute has some moments that are far better than Thickskin, it's not anywhere near the quality of the band's earlier work. Furthermore, the drastic stylistic changes from song to song are evidence that this band doesn't have an identity right now, much like a new band trying to find their way. Thickskin was a putrid and desperate attempt for the band to sound relevant in the new millennium. With this new album, I still feel there's a touch of that in the band's sound, but there are now moments when the band reaches back to its roots, and still other moments where the band ventures off into their own world leaving the listener scratching his head.

The first two songs of the album, Disease and Another Dick in the System are pounding rock tracks that are very worthy of the Skid Row name. Very much in the vein of classic Skid Row, we hear very substantial proof that Skid Row can write catchy hard rock with an attitude when they want to. While Johnny Solinger has a tough act to follow in replacing Sebastian Bach, these two tracks proves that he is a top notch rock singer. If you've ever heard his pre-Skid Row band, simply titled Solinger, you'd know that this guy has some impressive pipes. Having said that, Solinger is in no way, shape, or form a problem with Skid Row despite anything negative I may say about their recent material. If the rest of the album were in line with the first two tracks of Revolutions Per Minute, we'd be talking about a gem of an album.

Unfortunately, the ever wandering direction of Skid Row 2006 starts to rear its ugly head. As I said above, Skid Row can still write first tier hard rock songs when they want to. The problem is that they choose not to for the majority of the album. Pulling My Heart Out From Under Me is a mid tempo modern rock track with a classic feel that would be decent if the harmony vocals during the chorus lines weren't so sloppy. The band really goes off the deep end with the next track, When God Can't Wait. This is an obvious ripoff of Slade's hit Run Runaway. The Skid Row "cover" of this Slade hit has a silly and very strange punk meets hillbilly vibe to it. Again, Solinger's voice was clearly not meant to sing this type of song; he really sounds like a fish out of water here. This song just fails on every level. It could be argued that this song is meant to be funny and should not be taken seriously. However, I'd argue that such a track should be relegated to a b-side and not featured in the 4 spot on the album, especially when we could have had another rocker in this spot. Shut Up Baby, I Love You is another punk inspired track that just doesn't escape mediocrity due to it's lack of catchiness, and the at over the top screams offered during the verses. Strength is next, a mid tempo rocker that has a classic Skid Row written all over it. The sound is a bit updated in nature, but it's not at all a song where the Skids try to become something they're not. Instead, it's just a good classic rocking track with an updated production. The next track, White Trash is a silly pop punk number that features Beavis & Butthead caliber toilet humor. Musically, there's nothing worth hearing with the simplistic riffs and drum fills. You Lie is a redneck country track from out of nowhere. We're treated to a very hokey acoustic guitar backing that makes you want to put on your wife beater shirt and go square dancing after a romantic hayride. Toward the middle of the song, some very punkish influences take over and eventually dominate. The punk/country combination that Skid Row uses at times on this album is just nauseating. Anywho, Nothing is next in line on this album. There's really "nothing" exciting here as the title foreshadows. It's a bland modern rock track that could've fit on Thickskin very well. This song may impress those who like watered down guitars and basic musicianship, but with a radio friendly chorus line. Love is Dead is one hell of a sloppy song. Aside from the production, this song is demo quality. The drumming is way out of sync for most of the track, and the music oddly fades out completely for the choruses, which is just hard on the ears. Allowing a song that full of technical mistakes onto an album is just ridiculous.Let It Ride is another punkish song whose chorus falls flat while the basic and repetitive riffs bore the listener to tears. As a bonus track, an even more countried up version of You Lie is included. Great. If you weren't turned off enough by the album by this point, the bonus track should really send your fingers toward the eject button on your CD player.

By my count, that's three good songs out of twelve, which is a quarter of the album. I'll be generous on the math and give the album 10 points for each good song. The rest is a total waste. If it we all crap, then I'd just dismiss Skid Row forever as washed up and move on to something else. However, it's frustrating to think of what this album would have sounded like if only Skid Row would have put their energies to making great rock songs like they prove they are still able to do on those three songs. Unfortunately, the guys decide to dabble in silly redneck music with childish lyrics, punk based songs that require little creativity or technical ability. I certainly don't mind one silly song on an album to show the funny side of a band, but you can't dedicate a large portion of an album to this drivel. To me, that's just half assing an album up to 40 minutes (which this album is) just to get it done. Flat out copying a Slade song just fuels this opinion in my mind. Writing 3 really good rock songs and then throwing punk, modern rock, and hillbilly into a blender and hoping for the best on the other nine tracks just doesn't cut it. It's really sad to see Skid Row turn into an awful parody of their former selves. There are flashes of the band's former greatness evident here, but not nearly enough for me to think that the band will put it together anytime soon, if at all. If the band says that this album is not to be taken seriously, then I guess you don't have to take my "Crap of the Month" skeleton seriously either.

Killing Songs :
Put Disease, Another Dick in the System, and Strength onto an EP and throw the rest in the garbage.
Mike quoted 30 / 100
Ken quoted 50 / 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 - Skid Row reviewed by Ben and quoted 85 / 100
Skid Row - Thickskin reviewed by Mike and quoted 40 / 100
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