Paul Laine - Stick It In Your Ear
Elektra Entertainment Group Inc.
Melodic Rock / AOR
9 songs (46'05)
Release year: 1990
Reviewed by Ben
Archive review

Man, I am still feeling the glorious aftershocks from the Marcello - Vestry bombshell. By lieu of Rob Marcello and his connection to Danger Danger, I have explored a whole new world and it is a pleasant place to be. What is remarkable about the Danger Danger universe is that it consists of an extremely high quality for anyone involved. Original and current singer Ted Poley has released stellar solo albums, and this guy right here, Paul Laine was Ted’s replacement. This is one of those Pink Cream 69 situations where you don’t want the old guy (Ted) to go, but the new guy (Paul) kicks so much ass that you almost don’t care. Stick It In Your Ear is Paul’s first foray into the music world. It was this release that brought his talents to the ears of Danger Danger generals Steve West and Bruno Ravel. Released in 1990 on Neglecktra Records, this album quickly went nowhere. I have no idea why because countless runs through here has me convinced I have a gem on my hands.

Stick It In Your Ear is both slick and gritty melodic hard rock and AOR. What you get when you press play on the stereo is hooks galore and fantastic melodies. Guitars have bite and Paul’s voice is terrific. He has a pure rock n roll voice, high and clear, but not nasally or whiny. If I had to make a quick one off comparison, think Skid Row’s self titled debut as a frame of reference. There is a balanced mix between the mid tempo ballads and the rockers. I use the term ballad hesitantly because there are no out and out emasculating moments here. Even the full on love songs such as the monster Dorianna are still replete with flashy solos and pounding drums.

With a bass intro that makes me get my Eye Of The Tiger going, We Are The Young is the first blood boiler. Striking at the listener with a dirty (yet so right) guitar crunch, this is where Stick It In Your Ear truly begins for me. Paul makes his voice rise and dip in displays that show off his vocal versatility. Another classy rocker is Heart Of America, a keyboard laden number that extols the virtues of being a dreamer. This is dominated by keyboards and give it a Be Good To Yourself played sideways kind of vibe. Some insanely high screams come at you near the end, I didn’t know Paul could sing like that. The centerpiece of Stick It In Your Ear is definitely the power ballad Dorianna. Majestic, soaring, and full of genuine emotion, I don’t know who Dorianna is but she must have left an impact on our singer. Imagine a rocked out guitar led version of Faithfully. Yes, this is that good. A personal highlight is the album closer Break Down The Barricades. For this song Paul adopts a Jon Bon Jovi tone to the verses before he belts out the huge refrain. A smart move ending Stick It In Your Ear in an upbeat fashion.

Not all is perfect however. Low lights include the rambling opener One Step Over The Line. Other than some cool slap bass, this seven minute track just meanders away without direction. This sums up the problem that I have with a few other songs as well. Take the tender ballad I’ll Be There. I really am fond of the airy keyboards, (think Bill and Ted in the future scene in Bill And Ted’s Excellent Adventure) but clocking it at six minutes, forty seconds at the end should have been trimmed.

Stick It In Your Ear is an album that melodic rock fans should pursue. Paul Laine is a singer that has a voice people need to hear. This is a great snapshot of his career for two reasons. One, is that even though he would go on to front Danger Danger he would never sing pure AOR like this again. The second reason is that despite a few flaws, Stick It In Your Ear is representative of high caliber music in this genre for anybody that is a fan of pure melodic rocking music.

Killing Songs :
Dorianna, We Are The Young, Break Down The Barricades
Ben quoted 85 / 100
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