Why is Skid Row on my best 1,000 albums ever list?
Don’t wait for 18 and life to check this one out.
What does Skid Row mean to me? What does it make me feel? Why is it exciting or compelling?
Skid Row was the very first band I ever saw at a “real” concert. I was a young boy**, you might say, around 15-years old, it was the tail end of the 1980s, and the venue was Nassau Coliseum on Long Island, New York.
In my memory, the crowd was as striking as the performances: both were loud and in charge. All of the women had what I like to think of as “peak 1980s Long Island hair,” which means hair sprayed up to the moon (and beyond that, too). And all of the men, for reasons I can’t entirely explain, wore black leather motorcycle jackets.
Skid Row opened for Aerosmith, but they played as though they were the headliners. I recall a young Sebastian Bach whipping his trademark long blonde hair around with authority and absolutely owning the stage and the audience. “Youth Gone Wild” rocked hard, and “I Remember You” drove an ocean of cigarette lighters to shoot open across the coliseum (yeah, kids, that used to be a thing that happened pre-cell phones and pre-more awareness and laws related to preventing lung cancer).
I’ve been a big fan of Skid Row the band and Skid Row the album ever since, and the great news is that the album sounds remarkably fresh today. I think part of the reason why is that even though Skid Row has some of the veneer and trappings of “hair metal,” they’re fundamentally a strong hard rock/pop metal outfit with an exceptionally talented performer and front man in Sebastian Bach.
As a nerdy 15-year old trying to find his way in this wacky and sometimes confusing and cruel world, there was nothing better than the driving and infectious “Youth Gone Wild” to lift my spirits.
“18 and Life” is a legitimately strong power ballad* and a fantastic showcase for Bach’s theatrical voice.
* There are SO many legitimately weak sauce power ballads, so this is noteworthy. Which is why I am noting it.
** Taking nothing away from the song, it always makes me laugh when a power ballad’s lyrics include lines such as, “He was a young boy…” Pack your bags, we’re going on a narrative journey!
“I Remember You” was the other big hit from Skid Row, which I like fine, but I’d like to showcase a deep cut called “Sweet Little Sister.” It has an energy, propulsion, and dirty hard rock/metal sound that rivals early (read = the best) Guns ‘n Roses, I’d wager.
Personal stuff that’s somehow related to Skid Row
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention a classic story involving my man Lou. Back in the day, Lou was researching colleges and took some amount of serious interest in Skidmore College, a liberal arts college in Saratoga Springs, New York for the sole reason that it “sounds like Skid Row.”
Update: my man Lou is a cutting-edge scientist and entrepreneur these days, leveraging new materials that make it easier and cheaper to purify water and clean covid masks.
Which is all to say: go on your personal life quests with vigor and purpose, for you never know the wondrous and delightful destinations you’ll find along the way. Or some such.
Some stats & info aboutSkid Row
- What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? Rock Music, Hard Rock, Heavy Metal, Hair Metal
- Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – not ranked!
- All Music’s rating – 4 out of 5 stars
- When was Skid Row released? 1989
- My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #713 out of 1,000
Skid Row on Spotify
What does the “best 1,000 albums ever” mean and why are you doing this?
Yeah, I know it’s audacious, a little crazy (okay, maybe a lot cray cray), bordering on criminal nerdery.
But here’s what it’s NOT: a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time. This is 100% my own personal super biased, incredibly subjective review of what my top 1,000 albums are, ranked in painstaking order over the course of doing research for nearly a year, Rob from High Fidelity style. Find out more about why I embarked on a best 1,000 albums ever project.