On August 11 2011 the music world lost what I feel was one of its greatest talents. Like Warrant or not, Jani Lane was one of the best out there back in the day and it is a shame that he has left us, but what he has left us with is a legacy. Amazing songs, ones that should be listened to and enjoyed, not snarled at because ‘its Warrant.’ You more than likely liked them before, why not now? So I wanted to revisit my all time favourite Warrant album, the one I got to personally thank Jani Lane for writing and the one that should’ve been the biggest but, well, grunge happened…
It really is a shame that trends can dictate just how well an album can do. Normally it’s the content but in the case of a band like Warrant, 1992 was possibly the worst year they could have chosen to release ‘Dog Eat Dog’ their third album and what many, including me feel is arguably their greatest work to date. Yes Warrant, the ‘Cherry Pie’ guys if that’s how you have to know them… Well let me tell you that this album is no ‘Cherry Pie’, their image was now a darker one, the promo photos feature the band in all black telling us this is a heavy rock album. Jani Lane single handedly wrote all 12 tracks on this killer disc and unfortunately he was never able to replicate anything like it as a whole, whether that be due to its ‘failure’ or if that was purely his heart poured into this labour of love.
‘Dog Eat Dog’ kicks off with the heavy, riff laden ‘Machine Gun’ which was also the first single lifted from the album. It’s catchy and sets the pace for what will turn out to be their best work. ‘The Hole In My Wall’ is next, a song that is so far removed from Warrant yet it sounds exactly like them, make sense?. The addition of the talk box is always a winner and it’s great that this song still is part of the set list at their live shows. But, as ‘April 2031’ starts, it’s as heavy as I’ve ever heard Warrant, the lyrics deal with what the world will be like in April of 2031, what’s scary is I’ve spent the last now 19 years wondering if they may be right. It’s a haunting song and has been a favourite since the first time I heard it and I look forward to playing this song in April of 2031 (touch wood) and see if they were right. To be honest, I hope not.
Lyrically Jani really hit a home run as we hear a child sing the beginning of ‘Andy Warhol Was Right’ a chilling story of a boy who grows up dying for attention, but in the worst way possible. A song that you really need to hear to understand, but it can and will give you chills. It’s funny, strange, not ha ha as there are a few tracks on the album that I now love but at first didn’t. One of them being ‘Bonfire.’ the big gang vocals and chorus just never grabbed me, this and track 7 ‘Hollywood (So Far, So Good)’ are the only two songs I skip if need be, but that’s not very often.
But it’s track 6 that is the shining moment on ‘Dog Eat Dog’ with their absolutely amazing single ‘The Bitter Pill’ a song that is my second favourite of all time. It’s at times a power ballad, then German rock opera and lastly kick ass rock song. The dual vocals tell a story of a battle within, a groove that makes you feel exactly as the songs says ‘Sometimes I’m right as rain, and when it rains it pours’ I can’t even explain how good this song is and how disappointed I was that it wasn’t a hit. It’s a song that was before it’s time, yet was released at the wrong time. I guess as the song says ‘All that glitters isn’t gold.’
The album continues with the big rockers of ‘All My Bridges Are Burning’ and ‘Quicksand’ two tracks that run perfectly together and musically are different to anything Warrant has previously released. But the big ballad has now come around, ‘Let It Rain’ is phenomenal. I think this smokes their most popular ballad ‘Heaven’ but never got to see the light of day. If you listen to this song you will be blown away by Joey Allen’s guitar solo, a more heartfelt and emotionally driven solo I have never heard. It’s perfection.
‘Inside Out’ probably the fastest and almost heaviest song Warrant have ever recorded follows the massive ballad. A fun party rock song and almost the only throw back to their previous albums. The album rounds out with a song Warrant have had under their belt since 1987 in ‘Sad Theresa’ what’s funny is that it fits, 5 years on and shows that Jani Lane has always known how to write a song. It’s truly a great track.
So that’s ‘Dog Eat Dog’ in my opinion, the greatest album Warrant have ever released that never got the respect it deserved. Don’t let yourself miss out on what I feel is one of the best albums of all time. Yes it’s Warrant but get past what you think you know about them as you will be blown away by this massive rock album. I wish I’d had the opportunity to see these songs live, but in an age of flannel, the Warrant that should have taken over the music world faded away because they were a ‘hair band’ and it truly is a shame that we couldn’t all just get along.
R.I.P Jani Lane…
Release date: 1992
Produced By: Michael Wagener
Record label: Columbia Records
1. Machine Gun
2. The Hole In My Wall
3. April 2031
4. Andy Warhol Was Right
6. The Bitter Pill
7. Hollywood (So Far, So Good)
8.All My Bridges Are Burning
10. Let It Rain
11. Inside Out
12. Sad Theresa