Ted Poley - Smile
Frontiers Records
Melodic Hard Rock
12 songs (47:35)
Release year: 2007
Frontiers Records
Reviewed by Mike

Danger Danger vocalist Ted Poley is back with another solo album.  This latest opus, entitled Smile, is the follow up to Collateral Damage.  At last word, Danger Danger was set to enter the studio to complete their first Poley fronted album since Screw It (Cockroach was recorded in 1993, but not formally released until years later).  Smile will certainly give fans a more than appetizing slice of music to chew on while Danger Danger records their “reunion” album. 

As with his last band, Melodica, the lyrical themes of Ted’s solo material deals with relationships, love, and the various emotions (good and bad) that go along.  Stylistically, this album is not far at all from classic Danger Danger.  This album is the most similar to that classic, anthemic D2 sound yet.  It rocks a bit harder, and is a bit more uplifting in nature than Collateral Damage.  Anthemic, highly melodic hard rock with moderate keyboard usage is what’s on the menu.  I’m still a big fan of Collateral Damage, so suffice it to say that I really feel that Ted has hit the nail on the head with this album.  I certainly hope this is a harbinger of things to come for Danger Danger.  As we run through the track listing, Waiting Line, Going Blind, Smile, and What If She Knew start off the album with a strong run of uplifting, catchy rockers that show more than just a nod to the glory days of this genre.  The songs have a deep rooted sense of melody, as you would expect from Poley, yet they rock out at the same time.  Ted’s voice is as clean and pure as it was in 1989 on Danger Danger’s debut.  More Than Goodbye is the power ballad of the album, and a good one it is.  Ted shows off the sentimental side of his voice, while the song itself builds from a mellow, acoustic piece into a emotional swell of electric rhythm and solos over the second half.  It’s a predictable, but very well executed power ballad recipe.  Luv On Me, If I Can’t Change Your Heart, and Why Can’t We Pretend That It’s Over continue the run of memorable, rocking anthems of the first four tracks of the album.  Life Keeps Spinning Me Round is the one track of the album that doesn’t resonate completely with me.  The melodic quality isn’t as strong as the rest of the album, and the keyboard textures sound a bit awkward.  It’s not a bad song, but unfortunately no better than what you might typically expect from the ninth slot of an album.  From there, the album really finishes off on a strong note.  Where It Ends and Will Ya are a bit more aggressive in nature, with the tone shifting from uplifting and airy to a more dark and angry mood.  Still, the music retains it melodic quality and hard rocking tempo.  Those of you familiar with Melodica’s Love Metal album will recognize the shift in that album from uplifting and carefree at the start to more serious, urgent, and angry toward the end.  That is the best way to characterize Where It Ends and Will YaWhere It Ends actually reminds me of one the few songs from Def Leppard’s X album that I thoroughly enjoy, Torn To Shreds.  The album closes with a keyboard moody, keyboard backed reprise of If I Can’t Change Your Heart

One very noticeable improvement with Ted’s second solo album is the sound quality.  The production is much more crisp and clear this time around.  Collateral Damage was a bit rough, but this album is much more polished.  At the same time, it doesn’t sound dated.  For example, you won’t hear the over the top reverbs or 80’s-ish over produced guitar work of early Danger Danger (and almost every other release of that era).  Guitarist JK Northrup (King Kobra, XYZ, others) lends a big hand to the creation of this album.  As with Melodica, Ted Poley continues to surround himself with very talented musicians in his solo ventures.  Andy Timmons (original Danger Danger guitarist), Bill Leverty (Firehouse), and Pete Lesperance (Harem Scarem) contributed on Collateral Damage.  All in all, Smile is an absolute must for Danger Danger fans, and those who enjoy uplifting, melodic hard rock.     

Killing Songs :
Waiting Line, Smile, What If She Knew, If You Can't Change Your Heart, Where It Ends
Mike quoted 86 / 100
Other albums by Ted Poley that we have reviewed:
Ted Poley - Collateral Damage reviewed by Mike and quoted 85 / 100
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