Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich (1989)
RIP Jani Lane. Warrant's lead singer, who was found dead in Woodland Hills this summer, didn't have the strongest voice, or, per this quote, the strongest songwriting skills. But he understood the latter-year hair metal zeitgeist better than anyone. Despite its subject (excess) Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich manages to somehow sound hungry. She may be so damn pretty (should be against the law), but, you know, sometimes she also cries. Cherry Pie was self-satisfied, but DRFSR was a quite tight work that holds up. -Ben Westhoff
Out Of The Cellar (1984)
"Round and Round" is fantastic, and deserves all of the airplay it receives today. There are plenty of other reasons to revisit Ratt's Out Of The Cellar, however, like "Wanted Man," which gives the badass Western tale an '80s rock makeover. Then there's the fact that Juan Croucier's unique bass sound would be replicated by others for the rest of the decade. Finally -- not for nothing, video vixen Tawny Kitaen makes her hair scene video debut on the "Back For More" video, beating Whitesnake by three years. -Jason Roche
8. Def Leppard
Four long years in the making following the phenomenally successful Pyromania, Hysteria was an act of faith. The band and producer Mutt Lange wanted to kill each other in the studio, and drummer Rick Allen lost his arm in a car accident. But the glue held, and the work is a seemingly-endless string of dramatic, note-perfect gems. No one took themselves more seriously than Def Leppard, and god bless them for it; even if "Pour Some Sugar On Me" makes no sense as a heterosexual come-on. -Ben Westhoff
7. Faster Pussycat
Faster Pussycat (1987)
As vampy and volatile as the Russ Meyers film that inspired their name, Faster Pussycat's self-titled debut captures the sex-charged debauchery of L.A.'s glam scene better than most. For one thing, few rockers were as immersed in it; singer Taime Downe co-created hair metal hub The Cathouse, after all. Downe's sleazy snarl and the group's ballsy, bluesy licks on "Don't Change That Song," "Bathroom Wall" and "Babylon" show them at their blaring best here, referencing the New York Dolls and Aerosmith but with a swagger that was all Hollywood hellion. Sure, they were pretty (guitarist Brent Muscat... swoon!), but this release proved their talents went beyond pouncing and posing. -Lina Lecaro
Look What The Cat Dragged In (1986)
Speaking of feline...Sure, it's hard to get beyond Poison's looks here; with their eye liner, high hair, puckered lips, and even high heels at one point, Poison were the forerunners of cross-dressing in hair metal. But though the band was not initially known for their musicianship, there are real riffs on Look What The Cat Dragged In, courtesy of guitarist C. C. DeVille. As for flagrantly-smutty boasts, it's hard to top Bret Michaels. "I got a girl on the left of me, a girl on the right/ I know damn well, I slept with both last night." Meow! -Phillip Mlynar
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