Tuesday, February 22, 2022

"Way Cool Jr." by Ratt

Song#:  3760
Date:  01/07/1989
Debut:  96
Peak:  75
Weeks:  7
Genre:  Hard Rock, Glam Rock

Pop Bits:  After two multi-platinum albums, Ratt's third album, '86's Dancing Undercover, signaled a dip in their popularity. With the LP failing to generate a Pop Top 40/Rock Top 10 hit, the LP would halt at #26. Still, the band's popularity and their high profile spots on tours with the likes of Poison helped the album go platinum. For their fourth album, the band opted to work with producer Mike Stone, but initial tapes from the sessions didn't meet the expectations of Atlantic Records. The label decided to step in and hired back Beau Hill, who had produced Ratt's previous three LPs, to fix up the tracks. Reach for the Sky was finally completed and this first single was issued out. It did fairly well at Rock reaching #16, but it couldn't make much headway on the Pop chart. A second single failed to make either chart. Regardless of those results, the album was once again supported by fans and it would get to #17 and go platinum.

ReduxReview:  I think what weighed down this song was the production. It was so thick and mucky that it didn't allow the song to breathe. The tune got stuck among the noodling guitars and production effects. There were some synth/horn lines that were nice adds to the arrangement, but you can barely hear them over the din of everything else going on. While I don't think the track would have been a Top 10 contender, I think it would have done a lot better had the production gotten cleaned up. It needed to be crisp and coherent to make any mainstream headway. Had they done that and paired it will a super cool video, the song would have had a much better chance. Unfortunately, what came out was just messy.

ReduxRating:  4/10

Trivia:  Although their albums were still selling well, Ratt wanted to get back to their Top 10 multi-platinum days so for their fifth album, Detonator, they brought in a ringer to help them achieve that goal. Songwriter/producer Desmond Child was hired in to work with the band. His recent commercial successes with Bon Jovi and Aerosmith convinced Ratt that Child was the right person to get them back into chart fighting shape. Child would co-write all of the tracks on 1990's Detonator and also serve as executive producer. Child's long-time engineer Arthur Payson would serve as the LP's producer. On paper it all looked great, but then the LP was released. While it would featured a pair of Rock Top 40 entries, the album's newer pop/rock/glam sound didn't excite fans. It would peak at #23 and only reach gold-level sales. With that result, the band's prime days came to a close. Ratt's history, like a lot of band's after their heydays, became complicated with a couple of reunions, lineup changes, two competing versions of the band, and a couple of albums including 2010's #30 Infestation.


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