Author's Note: This review originally appeared on 411Mania.com. It can be found here:
Arriving on the coattails of Motley Crue in 1984, Ratt was the epitome of the first wave of ‘80s hair metal. The songs were poppy, but there was a sleazy undercurrent that made them seem tough. As the ‘80s wore on, they lost the sleaze and just followed the typical ‘80s metal formula. By the time they released Detonator in 1990, they were indistinguishable from Warrant. The band’s new hits collection, Tell The World: The Very Best of Ratt makes this painfully obvious.
The album’s track list is virtually identical to 1991’s Ratt n’ Roll 8191 but is out of chronological order. This seems ideal at first, since Ratt n’ Roll’s chronological approach dragged towards the end. Unfortunately Tell the World is so poorly executed, the best moments nearly get lost in the shuffle.
The album kicks off with “Dangerous But Worth the Risk and “Back For More.” These songs are ideal choices to open a compilation because they show what Ratt was at their best: a killer pop metal band. Both songs have raw production, huge hooks and impeccable guitar work. The momentum is ruined by “Loving You is a Dirty Job,” an overproduced, underwritten attempt at mainstream acceptance. The mediocrity continues until things pick up with “You’re in Love.” Once again, the momentum is ruined by “City to City,” the unremarkable opener from 1989’s Reach For the Sky
This is a shame, because a lot of the songs still hold up. The band’s signature tune, “Round and Round” is as infectious today as it was in 1984. “You’re in Love” and “Lay it Down” contain monster riffs and white hot shredding from guitarist Warren DeMartini. “Slip of the Lip” contains a sexy groove and one of the best choruses of the 1980s. It’s obvious the band didn’t want to go the chronological route again, but they could have arranged the songs in a way that emphasized their strengths. There is no logic in putting the songs from Detonator up front and putting most of the songs from Out of the Cellar towards the back. By making this careless decision, the band alienates the target audience for a compilation, the casual fan.
Although the sequencing is especially inept, the choice of songs is also flawed. While all of Ratt’s major singles are present, there are no tracks from the 1983 self-titled EP. There are two versions of “Way Cool Jr.,” but no “You Think You’re Tough.” The album is called Tell the World,, but “Tell the World” is not on the compilation. How do you name an album after a song and then not include the title track? It defies all logic.
Ratt intended Tell the World to become their definitive greatest hits album. Unfortunately, poor sequencing and missing tracks make it a subpar overview of one of hair metal’s greatest bands. There are some great songs on this disc, but there are much better ways to get a fix of Ratt n’ Roll.