Quiet Riot – Condition Critical (1984, CBS/Pasha)
- Sign Of The Times
- Mama Weer All Crazee Now
- Party All Night
- Stomp Your Hands, Clap Your Feet
- Winners Take All
- Condition Critical
- Scream And Shout
- Red Alert
- Bad Boy
- (We Were) Born To Rock
Kevin DuBrow – Vocals
Carlos Cavazo – Guitars
Rudy Sarzo – Bass
Frankie Banali – Drums
Total Time – 44:01
If the first album sold 4 million, then the second will do the same if you follow the same formula. Makes sense. That’s exactly what the band and producer Spencer Proffer do: follow the same formula and try to make a carbon copy of METAL HEALTH. By 1984, Quiet Riot is one of the more successful bands but there is stiffer competition from newer bands (Motley Crue, Bon Jovi, Ratt, Dokken, W.A.S.P.) and stalwarts from Europe (Def Leppard, Whitesnake, Scorpions). Add a little ego and some addictive stimulants and you have a band ripe for the “sophomore jinx”.
Opener ‘Sign Of The Times’ is sing-a-long, big chorus, big guitar tune. Great way to open the album by getting the listener with a catchy hook. “We’re the sign of the times, havin’ fun ain’t no crime…” And to a teenage rocker, that’s all you needed to hear to identify with this new anthem.
If covering Slade with ‘Cum On Feel The Noize’ broke the band, then covering Slade again should make this album a smash success…..right? ‘Mama Weer All Crazee Now’ is a great song, I admit to liking it better than ‘Cum On Feel The Noize’. Very catchy, a “raise your fist and sing-a-long” song. More big choruses, catchy as hell riffs, and a blazing guitar solo. This was the first single, perfect for MTV and radio, but haven’t we heard this before?
‘Party All Night’…..the title says it all. Again, another very catchy anthem that delivers the goods. Perfect early ’80s theme, it was always about the party. The second single from the album, again tailor made for MTV and radio, but it somehow fell short like ‘Mama’. Without a doubt, this is my favorite song on the album and is still a concert favorite.
I can deal with ‘Stomp Your Hands, Clap Your Feet’, it’s another catchy party rocker but a notch below the rest, almost at filler stage. Four songs in a row like that is a little too much right away, nothing really breaking it up until the album’s ballad: ’Winners Take All’. Similar to ‘Thunderbird’ from METAL HEALTH in the sense that it’s one of the better songs on the album and it’s a change of pace from the party anthems.
The title track is a mid-paced stomper that reaks of filler. ‘Scream And Shout’ reminds me of a cross between Judas Priest and/or the Scorpions with Kevin singing. I really like this one, it’s got that chugging guitar and would be even better if Quiet Riot had a second guitarist. ‘Red Alert’, ‘Bad Boy’, and ‘(We Were) Born To Rock’ all come up short, definitely not the best material on the album.
So did following the METAL HEALTH formula work? Not really, this album sold just over 1 million units, which must have been a huge disappointment, and the tour was subject to poor attendance and a huge budget. Overall, CONDITION CRITICAL is a good album, not a great one. Half the songs are great, the other half are throwaways. Best songs here are ‘Sign Of The Times’, ‘Mama Weer All Crazee Now’, ‘Party All Night’, ‘Winners Take All’ and ‘Scream And Shout’. ‘Stomp Your Hands….’ gets a pass because it’s catchy but it’s still a cut below. A little more effort and less of a cookie-cutter approach would have helped.