In Love with a Stripper: Warrant Return with “Devil Dancer”

In the pantheon of rock subtlety, Warrant don’t exactly make the grade. The glam metal band responsible for “Cherry Pie”, a grown man’s preschool-level homage to female anatomy, is back with a bang, or perhaps multiple bangs in the same day if you’re feeling ambitious, as rockaholics the world over prepare themselves for the May release of Louder Harder Faster, the follow-up to 2011’s aptly-named Rockaholic. If you’re still in denial about being a rockaholic, admitting you have a problem is the first step on the road to recovery. Besides, the meetings are fun. One might even say they rock. To whet the appetite, among other things, of fans, Warrant recently dropped “Devil Dancer”, a crackerjack tune reminiscent of the group’s classic lineup, rich with sexy hooks and killer soloes. Granted, a band this well-travelled and beloved by audiences can solo sparingly these days, but it’s nice of them to afford us the luxury of hearing them do it every once in a while. Practice makes perfect, I guess.

“Devil Dancer” paints a vivid portrait of a strip club “southbound from nowhere on a flat dirt road far from the lights of town.” This is our drama’s setpiece, a Tex-Mex borderland no wall can erode, where a “dirty señorita” dances “on a shiny brass pole” that she evidently works to great effect. Brass poles, cherry pies? Warrant better be more careful with some of these lyrics or people might start getting the wrong impression. Warrant cast themselves as the hapless victims of the devil dancer’s charms, mere toys “for her amusement” until she inevitably tosses them aside. The band simply can’t help themselves. They’re such addicts, but they love the ride. Next up this “dirty down romancer” delivers a lap dance from hell as “she takes you down and moves around ‘til your head is a spinning wreck,” reducing Warrant to drooling buffoons struggling to lift their jaws from the floor. But this is all her fault, right? Maybe if she wasn’t so good at devil dancing, these middle-aged men wouldn’t constantly objectify her body! Someone should explain to them how a business works. You can leave at anytime, boys. That’s where “Devil Dancer” gets a bit confusing. Is this a story of female empowerment or a classic case of victim blaming? I suspect most listeners will end up lost in the infectious groove and forget about anything other than securing their next dose of brainless rock. Thankfully, on that front, “Devil Dancer” holds its own against Warrant’s premier material, which is a welcome change from much of their 21st century output. After the death of former lead singer Jani Lane, the hero behind “Cherry Pie” and “Uncle Tom’s Cabin," a bizarre channeling of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s 1852 anti-slavery novel, the band consolidated around the vocal stylings and acoustic guitar strummings of Robert Mason, who steered the group in a somewhat more family-friendly direction, culminating in unforgivable tracks such as “Sex Ain’t Love” (don’t even get me started) that betrayed everything your daddy’s Warrant stood for. That’s precisely why “Devil Dancer” is such a breath of fresh air, dud lyrics aside. Sure, the song’s lame sexual politics might rock you with guilt and keep you up at night, but with this dirty señorita by your side, you’ll be in such good company you won’t even care. You’re such an addict, but you love the ride. Hey, we’ve got meetings for that too!

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