Ultimately serves no purpose

At first glance, Bret Michaels’ latest musical effort looks like a new album. He’s got the theme song to his forthcoming show on there and a sprinkling of new tunes including one featuring Miley Cyrus (!).

But on closer analysis, it’s mainly smoke and mirrors: Custom Built is only half-new, a strange jumble of new tracks with a bunch of re-mixes, demo takes and re-issues thrown on to push it out to album length that ultimately serves no purpose. The blend of genres is all over the place, a confused and jarring hodge-podge of musical styles from slick AOR to sleaze rock to country rock to tracks with heavy dance beats.

A couple of them aren’t that bad: “Riding Against the Wind” is decent radio rock and “Lie to Me” rocks hard, but neither are anything more than average and neither are good enough to lift this album beyond novelty status. For some reason, there’s two versions of “Nothing to Lose”, one of which features Miley Cyrus singing flat and hopelessly off-key as if she’s never even heard the song before. Her performance is so bad, it makes you wonder how it was allowed to be released. And given the apparent nature of the lyrics, it’s downright creepy that a teenager should even be singing this with a 47-year old man. There’s a version of Sublime’s “What I Got” that sounds like Michaels driving out to Brad Nowell’s grave marker and dancing on it, and “Wasted Time” is a re-hash of “Every Rose Has its Thorn”, except suckier. To cap that off, the country version of “Rose” from Freedom of Soundappears just two tracks later as if Bret wanted to show everyone just how crap “Wasted Time” actually is. Then there’s a “club mix” (yes, that means horrible early-90s style techno-rock mash up) of “Go That Far” and a rock version of “Driven”. After some more adequate but unspectacular country-rock newies, Custom Built finishes with “I’d Die for You” from the Letter from Death Row soundtrack.

I suppose with all his TV work and health issues, Michaels has just found it difficult to put together many new songs since his previous solo album. After all, it was only five years ago. It’s really hard to see the point to this at all.

1. Riding Against the Wind
2. Lie to Me
3. Nothing to Lose
4. Wasted Time
5. What I Got
6. Every Rose
7. Got That Far (club mix)
8. Driven (rock mix)
9. Open Road
10. Rock’n My Country
11. Nothing to Lose (demo version)
12. I’d Die For You