"some music was meant to stay underground..."

Steel Panther - "Balls Out" (CD)

Steel Panther - "Balls Out" CD cover image

"Balls Out" track listing:

1. In The Future (1:28)
2. Supersonic Sex Machine (3:10)
3. Just Like Tiger Woods (3:41)
4. 17 Girls In A Row (3:41)
5. If You Really Really Love Me (2:25)
6. It Won't Suck Itself (2:54)
7. Tomorrow Night (2:58)
8. Why Can't You Trust Me (4:01)
9. That's What Girls Are For (3:39)
10. Gold Digging Whore (3:54)
11. I Like Drugs (4:19)
12. Critter (3:38)
13. Let Me Cum In (3:29)
14. Weenie Ride (4:20)

Reviewed by on November 8, 2011

"The honeymoon may be over and the sex may have gotten predictable and stale, but Steel Panther still loves the metal masses enough to put out a decent, if uninspired, follow-up to 'Feel the Steel.'"

Back to impart more rock star wisdom on love and relationships, Michael Starr and the boys from Steel Panther go “Balls Out” with their follow-up to the stellar debut “Feel the Steel” (reviewed here). While still keeping up the ‘80s glam metal persona admirably, the latest sex and drug fueled offering from the Hollywood bad boys is much more uneven than the last album and unfortunately falls into a bit of a sophomore slump.

“Balls Out” actually covers a lot more ground musically than “Feel the Steel,” offering more versatile looks at serious ballads and guitar-driven tracks, but the music is only half (or less) of Steel Panther’s appeal. Landing somewhere between heartfelt tribute and merciless parody, the band is a constant running joke, but the laughs come less frequently this time around.

While the last album was unquestionably crude and offensive, “Balls Out” is somehow even more blunt and juvenile, not to mention significantly less inventive in delivering sexual innuendo or double-entendres. Rather than making the audience realize a moment later that what they just heard was insanely dirty and hilariously offensive, instead vocalist Starr just says things like “I’m going to put it in your ass” or makes a poop joke.

Tracks like “That’s What Girls Are For” are funny in theory, but end up a bit limp in execution, as by that point frankly the album’s focus on misogyny has gotten old. “I Like Drugs” is catchy enough, but the voiceovers fall flat and aren’t actually that funny. The appearance of Dane Cook on the opening sci-fi themed spoken word segment is also rather puzzling, as his voice is so heavily distorted that it would be impossible to tell who was providing the vocal work without checking the liner notes. Advice like “Hit her in the shitter, treat her like a critter” doesn’t quite come across as well as obvious truth of “Eatin’ ain’t cheatin’” either.

There are flops aplenty (at least in comparison to the absolutely spot-on tongue in cheek delivery of the first album), but “Balls Out” also sports more than its fair share of straight faced absurdity. A track posing the question of why a girlfriend can’t trust Mr. Starr, placed after seven other anthems of explicitly explaining why monogamy is no good, is a hilarious look into the world of clueless rock stars. Lines like “I really, really, really, really fuck you too” or a mentioning of “If the word gets out don’t be afraid, when a 9 iron’s headed for your Escalade” while honoring Tiger Woods are examples of the Panther’s ability to still bring on the guffaws. And hey, at least the guys have a leg up over Fergie, as even these coked-out, brain dead ‘80s wash-ups know to correctly spell out words in their songs with the impressive “Gold Digging Whore.”

The honeymoon may be over and the sex may have gotten predictable and stale, but Steel Panther still loves the metal masses enough to put out a decent, if uninspired, follow-up to “Feel the Steel.” There’s no way you’ll like this one if you hated the last one, but people who previously got the jokes should still get enough from “Balls Out” to give it a listen.

Highs: More '80s parody/tribute goodness, and it's pretty damn impressive to hear people spell out "Gold digging whore."

Lows: The jokes are far more blunt and juvenile than before and the formula is getting old.

Bottom line: The raging hard-on that was “Feel the Steel” has gone a bit limp with the more half-mast “Balls Out.”

Rated 3.0 out of 5 skulls
3.0 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)