My Record Collection: Ultraphobic by Warrant (1995)
Album Name: Ultraphobic
Band Members: Jani Lane, Erik Turner, Jerry Dixon, Rick Steier, James Kottak, and Dave White
Release Date: March 7th, 1995
I have been listening to more grunge recently and this album has popped up. I remember that my brother bought this album upon its release. However, I am probably the one that listened to the album the most.
Let us go back through the mists of time and see how this album holds up after 24 years.
Undertow (Jani Lane; Rick Steier)" - 3:12
"Followed (Beau Hill; Jani Lane; Jerry Dixon)" - 3:41
"Family Picnic (Beau Hill; James Kottak; Jani Lane; Jerry Dixon)" - 4:43
"Sum of One (Jani Lane)" - 3:37
"Chameleon (Jani Lane; Jerry Dixon; Rick Steier)" - 5:23
"Crawl Space (Jani Lane; Rick Steier)" - 2:38
"Live Inside of You (Erik Turner; James Kottak; Jani Lane; Rick Steier)" - 3:17
"High (Jani Lane; M. Tanner; Rick Steier)" - 4:02
"Ride #2 (Erik Turner; Jani Lane; Jerry Dixon)" - 5:07
"Ultraphobic (James Kottak; Jani Lane; Rick Steier)" - 3:25
"Stronger Now (Jani Lane)" - 3:57
This album is a weird one for Warrant. This was at a time where 80's bands were told they needed to change their sound to seem more hip. Dokken, Warrant and even KISS tried the grunge sound. I remember at the time, having an 80's rocking sound like Bon Jovi, Twisted Sister or even Skid Row, were considered passé.
Until now Warrant had done well. They had a big hit with Cherry Pie from the Cherry Pie album. Their previous album Dog Eat Dog was one of their best. The album showed the band had matured. It showed with not just in the music but in the writing as well.
Ultraphobic was a new departure for them in terms of sound. Like known grunge groups such as Soundgarden, Pearl Jam and Nirvana, the writing was darker. Warrant was always known for their party anthems (Ex: Cherry Pie) and rock ballads (Ex: Heaven, Let It Rain).
From the first single Family Picnic to Undertow, the album felt very personal and dark. Fans were not used to this and I believe that it may have turned them off. It is not that it was bad, just not what people expected.
There are some very underrated songs on this album. Chameleon is an awesome track. From the first chords of the song to the main chorus, it is a song that I believe should have made it on the charts.
Another song which I believe is their best, is Stronger Now. In fact, Jani Lane had already stated that this was his best written song at the time. He brings such a simple song musically with the heavy impact of the words. I had already reviewed the song as part of our Best Written Rock Songs series.
They have the mandatory rock ballad with High which in my opinion is average at best. However, it is probably the song that sounds the most like their previous albums.
Ultraphobic (song) was a surprise for me, as It has that grunge sound but also has the classic Warrant vibe as well.
Crawl Space and Live inside of You are probably the weakest on the album. You can hear the experimental sounds. I think that the sounds were way outside of their comfort zone and it showed.
Do I recommend this album? The answer is yes. I truly believe that this album has aged better than some of their other albums. For example, Cherry Pie was great when it came out. However, listen to it today and it is cheesy at best.
The album is worth listening to for Stronger Now and Chameleon alone. Yes the album is darker but it touches on current topics such as breakups, youth violence and coming out stronger from dark times. I think if you take the time to truly listen to the words, you can be moved.
Unfortunately, this is an album that is hidden and not many people will remember it. I do like the album as it has one of the best songs that I have ever listened to. I think it is a travesty that it never made it to the charts. Case and point, the album is not found on Google Music or on Apple Music as of the writing of this review. You can find the album in its entirety on YouTube.
Warrant - Stronger Now
Warrant - Ultraphobic
What do you think? Is this a good album? Let us know.