Between his starring roles on mindless television shows and fighting death, Poison frontman Bret Michaels recorded his third studio album (fourth if counting Death Row) for release on Poor Boy Records.  One part pop rock, two parts country, and five parts previously released content, Custom Built is at times a pleasant listening experience but overall falls far short of freshness.

The six or so tracks that represent new material are pretty good.  Together they would have made a respectable EP release. But throw in another remix of “Every Rose Has Its Thorn,” and I am forced to stab myself in the ear.  There was little reason to make an official “country version” of the legendary ballad.  The original is close enough when played acoustically.

One would think that the collaboration with Miley Cyrus on “Nothing to Lose” would be the album’s cesspool track.  However, it turns out to be the best tune on Custom Built.  Which brings us to the next point: why the hell include a demo version of “Nothing to Lose” without Cyrus (track 11)?

It is difficult to dislike the cover of Sublime’s “What I Got,” but still does not seem entirely necessary.  Michaels could easily have saved it for live gigs on his US club tour.

I really hate it when artists release club remixes as part of their albums.  They never fit and always suck.  The club remix of “Go That Far” from Rock of Love is yet another prime example.  Can anybody find a remix that is not awful and actually contains the appropriate track placement to advance the album?

The opening “Riding Against the Wind” is an album highlight and will serve as the opening of Michaels next VH1 show, Bret Michaels: Life as I Know It.  “Lie to Me,” the hardest rocking song on Custom Built, follows with a choppy “What I like About You” feel.  “Wasted Time” is a classic sounding Michaels’ ballad.

It is very disappointing that there are so many sloppy seconds on this disc such as “Open Road” and “Rock ‘n My Country” from 2005’s Freedom of Sound, as well as “I’d Die For You” from 1998’s A Letter from Death Row.

As an EP of new tracks, Custom Built would have been a four star performance.  However, that route was not chosen.  Instead the fans get a handful of recycled songs and a C+ effort.

Track Listing:

  1. “Riding Against the Wind”
  2. “Lie to Me”
  3. “Nothing to Lose” (Featuring Miley Cyrus)
  4. “Wasted Time”
  5. “What I Got” (Sublime Cover)
  6. “Every Rose Has Its Thorn”
  7. “Go That Far” (Jason Miller Club Mix)
  8. “Driven” (Rock Mix)
  9. “Open Road”
  10. “Rock’ n My Country”
  11. “Nothing to Lose” (solo version)
  12. “I’d Die for You”

3 thoughts on “Review: Bret Michaels – Custom Built [2010]

  1. Yeah, he had a brain hemorrhage in April while he was finishing up “The Apprentice” and getting ready for a spring tour. The dates were postponed and happening now through the fall. It’s a amazing his recovery is going so well. My little brother’s band is opening for him in Pennsylvania on Wednesday.

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