There’s no doubt that this is one fucked up world. And to add insult to injury, Autograph has a new album. I mean, I wouldn’t want to say glam metal is irrelevant these days, but it is. And one of its pioneers is unwilling to die—trying to hold on to what it has (“Turn Up the Radio”) and hasn’t (everything else) contributed to this world. How ol’ Steel convinced me to review Autograph‘s newest Sunset Strip nightmare, Get off Your Ass, is fucking beyond me. Ain’t it bad enough I had to review the new Wintersun? For fuck’s sake, I even have Fozzy‘s new record to review next. Why me, goddamit? Well, at least this thing is only nine tracks. That shouldn’t be too bad, right?
Before we get started, I want you to know that I don’t hate all hair metal. Only Ratt, Poison, Cinderella, Whitesnake, White Lion, Great White, Damn Yankees, Def Leppard, Mötley Crüe, Quiet Riot, and Kiss. OK, so the short list ain’t that short, but one band I don’t hate is Autograph. To be honest, I actually find Sign In Please to be a full, fun disc. Follow-up release, That’s the Stuff, is a close second, but the rest of the band’s material drops off into mediocrity. Then, after 1987’s Loud and Clear, the band called it quits. In 2003, they returned with comeback record, Buzz—an album without longtime guitarist Steve Lynch. Unfortunately, Buzz was the first sign of the band’s aging. And Get Off Your Ass is the second. Nonetheless, Lynch is back—vocalist Steve Plunkett is not—and Autograph is full-fledged Dad Metal.
Seriously, you can’t get more Dad Metal than “Get Off Your Ass.” I say that to my son a dozen times a day. And now I have an official anthem to blare across the house when he’s sitting on his ass playing video games. Just the same, the album-opening title track is one of the better songs. It’s a hair metal classic with chipper riffage and a strong chorus that gets signature full-band support. It’s upbeat, it’s got a mid-song solo, and it climaxes in true glam metal fashion. Unfortunately, the songwriting formula for Get Off Your Ass doesn’t change from song-to-song. And quality decreases from here.
Songs like the rocking “You Are Us We Are You” and the bluesy “Meet Me Half Way” are almost as fun as the opener, but “Every Generation,” “All I Own,” “I Lost My Mind in America,” and “All Emotions” are not. “Every Generation” and “I Lost My Mind in America” are two upbeat pieces with a string of eye-rolling lyrics and a couple of the goofiest choruses this year. The former is like listening to your dad try to drop some inspirational shit as you unpack your first-year dorm. And, though the latter has a slick old-school riff, the chorus makes me cringe. “All I Own” and “All Emotions” take the all to the max. This time it’s in the form of sap. “All Emotions” starts on a good foot, with a cruising riff and a fun gallop, but takes a quick turn for the sticky stuff. And the chorus is one of the cheesiest of the year. OK, that’s a lie. “All I Own” has the cheesiest chorus of the year. Not only is this song hard to describe, it’s hard to listen to.
But, the best track on the album is the tenth track. The reason I don’t count this closer as a part of the album is that it’s a live track of their classic “Turn Up the Radio.” As if to let everyone know this was the band that nearly topped the charts back in 1984 and fueled the next generation’s desire to drive recklessly through the streets of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. I do love the song but its presence here reminds me of a band that used to have loads of energy and one of the best debuts in the genre.
Unfortunately, the Autograph of 1984 is gone. The glory days of Sign In Please and That’s the Stuff are gone and, instead, Get Off Your Ass sounds on par with Buzz. That said, if you liked Buzz, Get Off Your Ass might sit well with you. If you’re like me, this new record will disappoint more than it’ll please.