As Ugly as They Wanna Be (1991) by Ugly Kid Joe: The definition of party rock of the 1990’s

As Ugly as They Wanna Be is the 1991 debut EP by American rock band Ugly Kid Joe. It includes the hit-single Everything About You, which put the band on the musical map.

Track by track

The opening track Madman is characterised by a rather groove-oriented beat, rapped vocals, and a certain mood and feel that fits the silly-but-funny artwork perfectly. The guitar riff is less metal, but adds the necessary amount of crunch to make it a good rock song.

Track 2, Whiplash Liquor, continuos in exactly the same mood and feel as Madman. I like how the band twists the bow from a monotonous groovy verse to a melodic chorus.

Finally, track 3, Too Bad, brings us pure straight and melodic hard rock, just the way this rock aficionado likes it. Moreover, the song gives singer Whitfield Crane great space to show off his ability to rock a song. The same is true for Klaus Eichstadt on guitar. Check out his guitar solo on this track.

And then there’s Everything About You. I guess by now every single one of you has heard the song at one party or another. I have been a proud owner of this CD since it came out and must have listened to it a gazillion times. However, I think I have heard the song even more often at some kind of gathering or party than at home. With that said, I consider Everything About You the best party rock song in the history of rock music. The song includes the easiest singalong chorus, the most singable guitar solo, the happiest melodies, and the funniest ending ever. Full-stop!

Track 5 starts with a very good version of Sweet Leaf, a Black Sabbath song, before going into an original song called Funky Fresh Country Club. The performance on Sweet Leaf is excellent. Drummer Mark Davis sure knows how to hit those drums on the beat and bassist Cordell Crockett gives us a glimpse of his versatility with some great fingerstyle and slap-lines. Funky Fresh Country Club combines the more groove-oriented features of Ugly Kid Joe with the more melodic side of the band. A great way to end the EP.

Oh, the CD did actually not end there. Ugly Kid Joe added a sixth track named Heavy Metal. The song is an almost-instrumental 26-seconds interlude to the music genre. I’m not going to dig deeper into why this interlude found its way onto this otherwise excellent piece that wrote rock music history.

IMHO

Ugly Kid Joe surely deserves kudos for creating the rock masterpiece As Ugly as They Wanna Be in a time when grunge started taking over the music world. The band brought a more modern kind of rock to the masses and astutely combined break-beat grooves with rock attitude. For this listener, As Ugly as They Wanna Be deserves credit for having defined the party rock and metal of the 1990’s with an excellent piece of rock history.

Sebastiano Mereu

YouTuber + host of the #FHTZ online music show with co-producer @simonkurt + marketing & digital content producer + university lecturer