Bret Michaels – Custom Built (2010, Poor Boy Records)

  1. Riding Against the Wind
  2. Lie To Me
  3. Nothing To Lose (featuring Miley Cyrus)
  4. Wasted Time
  5. What I Got
  6. Every Rose Has It’s Thorn (Country version)*
  7. Go That Far (Club Mix)**
  8. Driven (Rock Mix)
  9. Open Road
  10. Rock’n My Country
  11. Nothing To Lose (Bret only demo)
  12. I’d Die For You

*(featuring Brad Arnold of 3 Doors Down, Chris Cagle, Mark Wills)
**(by Jason Miller of Godhead)

Full album credits located at http://www.bretmichaels.com/2010/music_files/custombuilt.html

Producers: Bret Michaels & Pete Evick

Total Time = 42:45

Bret Michaels
Bret Michaels MySpace page

Here we go again! This is Round #2 of Bret Michaels’ reality television career and recording career combining to produce a new album!

Back in 2008, hot on the heels of the successful VH-1 reality series Rock Of Love, Bret Michaels released a “new” album titled ROCK MY WORLD. Unfortunately, ROCK MY WORLD wasn’t a new album but rather a collection of three new songs and nine previously released tracks from previous solo records. The album was advertised as a brand new album and it actually was, the problem was that the casual fan and buying public didn’t actually know that most of the songs were released three or five years previous. I was lucky to get an advance copy so I didn’t have to spend my hard earned cash but what about all the people who did? What about the diehard fans who already had Bret’s previous solo albums SONGS OF LIFE (2003) and FREEDOM OF SOUND (2005)? Now it’s two years later and Bret is about to debut a new VH-1 reality show, Bret Michaels: Life As I Know It, in the Fall and we get a new album, CUSTOM BUILT. Again we are told this is a brand new album but is it? Is it a new set of songs or is this album “custom built” like ROCK MY WORLD? The bad news is that Bret has followed the previous formula and released another CD just like ROCK MY WORLD but this time around we get four new songs, a cover song and only seven previously released songs but three of those previously released songs are actually different mixes! Get all that? Four new songs!

Let’s run down the tracklisting:

  • ‘Riding Against The Wind’ — This is the new theme song to Bret Michaels: Life As I Know It. Overall, it’s not a bad tune, it’s an upbeat Rock song that has a touch of the lighter side of Poison.
  • ‘Lie To Me’ — Another pretty good Rock song that is very gritty sounding and retains the trademark Poison sexual theme. I really like the guitar tone here, it makes the song heavier than it really is.
  • ‘Nothing To Lose’ — This is the much hyped duet with Disney Channel’s Miley Cyrus, better known as Hannah Montana. I went into this song with a ton of dread but it’s actually one of the best songs on the album! Cyrus’ contribution is basically background vocals and harmonies on this Country sounding ballad and, even though her singing is a little distracting, she actually adds something to the song. Bret does Country well, you can hear it in his Poison ballads from years past, so I don’t mind this song at all. I actually like it a lot!
  • ‘Wasted Time’ — Second ballad in a row and another trademark Bret Michaels ballad that sounds like Poison but with that Country tinge. I think it’s safe to say that Bret can write great ballads and both new ballads on CUSTOM BUILT outshine the two new Rock songs.

OK, those are the the new songs and so far the album is pretty good but let’s continue…..

  • ‘What I Got’ — A cover of the Sublime song from their 1996 self-titled third album. I actually like this song, at least I like the Sublime original, because it’s catchy. Bret’s version is a bit more Rocker than the Alternative/Ska/Pop mainstream hit. It’s a cover though and I could forgive it if the rest of the album was original material.
  • ‘Every Rose Has It’s Thorn’ (Country version) — It’s the Poison hit Country-fried…..which actually isn’t too far from the original. What’s most important here is that it was previously released on FREEDOM OF SOUND (2005)
  • ‘Go That Far’ (Club mix) — This is the Rock Of Love theme that was the lead song from ROCK MY WORLD…..the difference here is that this is a dance club mix. It’s terrible. I’ve only made it through the song once and I barely made it. Use the skip button for this one.
  • ‘Driven’ (Rock mix) – Originally released on FREEDOM OF SOUND (2005) and re-released on ROCK MY WORLD (2008) but this is the “Rock mix”…..unnecessary. The original is good though.
  • ‘Open Road’ — Great mid-tempo Country song from Bret but it’s already been released on FREEDOM OF SOUND (2005)…..if I ever get my hands on this album, ‘Open Road’ will be one of the top songs.
  • ‘Rock’n My Country’ — Another FREEDOM OF SOUND track. If Bret likes FREEDOM OF SOUND so much, why not keep it in print and get us to buy it? For the interested…..an uptempo Country Rock hybrid.
  • ‘Nothing To Lose’ (Bret demo) — This is the same exact song as before but without Miley Cyrus, still a solid song though. Why not make this a bonus track at the end and give us a legit original?
  • ‘I’d Die For You’ — Bret really reaches deep down to re-release a song from his debut solo album, A LETTER FROM DEATH ROW (1998). I have that album, I bought into the hype of Bret’s solo debut, movie debut and directorial debut…..oh yeah, there’s a film of the same name starring Bret and this is the soundtrack.

Bottom Line:
Tale of the Tape = 4 new songs, a cover tune, an alternate version of one of the originals, 4 songs from FREEDOM OF SOUND and 1 song from A LETTER FROM DEATH ROW. Can anyone say rip-off #2?

“Burn me once, shame on you. Burn me twice, shame on me.”

That’s exactly what Bret Michaels had done two albums in a row: let’s take a few new originals and re-release a lot of songs from previous albums. This time around Bret sees fit to shake it up and give us a cover and a couple different mixes of previous tunes. This was obviously carbon copy of ROCK MY WORLD, an album to promote a reality TV series catering to the casual fan and Poison diehards who need everything. How do people get away with this? This time around, I paid the hard-earned cash only to be duped…..imagine my disappointment finding out I paid for only four new songs out of twelve. Even the booklet is bad…..there is no booklet! If it wasn’t for a really awful album by another band in 2008, ROCK MY WORLD would have been my Worst Album of 2008…..so far CUSTOM BUILT is the leading candidate for 2010. Even the four good originals can’t hide my disappointment!

Favorite Songs:
I really like the first four brand new songs. The best of the four are the two ballads: ‘Nothing To Lose’ (with or without Miley Cyrus) and ‘Wasted Time’.

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Comments
  1. Hi

    I was amazed when I read this review – I didn’t know people would try the same “trick” twice (or more often). I agree if people buy new albums they expect to get new songs – I get really frustrated when I buy an album and there is one cover on it.
    I am a songwriter myself and I find it to a form of expression. I cannot see what motivates Mr. Michaels to release a full album, especially if it is filled with previously released material – it’s absurd.
    Aegir Saevarsson

  2. [...] Bret Michaels – Custom Built (2010): Big bad Bret is no stranger to the Worst of the Year list because he made the list in 2008 with his last “new album” ROCK MY WORLD (2008). The problem the last time was that Bret advertised ROCK MY WORLD as a “new studio album” and only three songs were actually new with the rest coming from previous Bret solo records. Fast forward two years and Bret is at it again with CUSTOM BUILT! He advertised this album as a “new studio album” but only four songs were actually new with the balance coming from the out of print FREEDOM OF SOUND (2005) and LETTERS FROM DEATH ROW (1998). Add in a cover and a couple alternate mixes/demos and you’ve got a 1/3 of a new album. Is it right to rip-off fans like this? Why not re-release the three real studio albums Bret has done outside of Poison? I understand you want to promote your reality television career but what about the fans? If it wasn’t for Tommy Lee, Bret Michaels would take the top honors this year. [...]

  3. TheKleinster says:

    I listened to one song off the album. “What I got ” … theres someone (could be brett) beat boxing at the begining of the song. WTF !?!? … its not even a relevent beat box. Is sounds like a cheesey version of the Fat Boys or a Doug E Fresh beat box, which is even more dated than the cover song he is singing. And now , this hit song with miley (oy vey) is going to encourage this behavior futher. Please Brett , for the love of all that is good and holy (?!??!), give it a rest before you hurt yourself.

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