You know, I thought I was done going over albums put out or involving wrestlers. I’ve already covered John Cena’s album and WWE Originals, and those are probably the most artistic albums in this niche. To go over anything else would be an exercise in masturbatory celebration of an individual who pretends to fight off the forces of evil…at best. Hey, it was this or go over a Lee Greenwood album.
I don’t think Hulk Hogan needs much of an introduction—those who otherwise know nothing about wrestling know who Hogan is. Hulk Rules, on the other hand, needs a bit of an explanation to get to its core. The first song written for the album, “Hulkster In Heaven” was a tribute to a Make-A-Wish kid who had passed on before getting to see his hero wrestle in person, and the remaining songs were apparently written for the sole purpose of putting “Hulkster In Heaven” on a proper album whose proceeds would benefit the child’s family, so for whatever else you can say about this album, it at least comes from a good place. The band consists of Hogan, his then-wife Linda Bollea, his “good friend” Jimmy Hart (who has a background in music, came up with the theme songs for several other wrestlers, and probably could have made just as much money in the music industry as he did in the wrestling business if he had played his card right), and J.J. Maguire, who helped compose the theme songs for Ted DiBiase and Shawn Michaels. We’re not exactly lacking in Hogan spirit, and there are at least two guys behind the boards who know what they are doing. How bad could this be?
1.) “Hulkster’s In the House”
This may have been a mistake.
A toothless rock song that comes across as a demo track, “Hulkster’s In the House”’s only accomplishment is thoroughly establishing that Hulk Hogan is in the house and that things are going to be alright because he is Hulk Hogan. I’ve heard worst starts to albums, but goodness, what a waste of time.
Sample lyric: “When the going gets tough, the tough get rough!”
2.) “American Made”
Hogan used this song as his entrance theme in his time in WCW when he wasn’t a part of the NWO, and it comes across as a B-grade “Real American”. Still, this rocks in its own way, and while the notion that Hogan is “American-made” would suggest incompetence and corruption, the insistence that he is awesome because of the country he was raised in is charming in how 80’s it feels. You almost can’t tell that this came out in 1995. Also, it ends with an aimless-but-admirable guitar solo, so I can’t hate this.
Sample lyric: “He’s got the red, white, and blue running through his veins / He was born and raised in the U.S. of A”
3.) “Hulkster’s Back”
In which Hulk Hogan raps over what could have easily been music from a level in “Sonic the Hedgehog” while Linda Bollea swoons. This is the first track that I needed to pause just to get my bearings. I can’t decide if this is so bad that it is good or so bad that it sucks.
Sample lyric: “I was hanging, I was banging, I was turning it on / Everybody on the beach knew it wouldn’t be long / I took the belt, it was Flair’s, I don’t really care / In the hand of the Maniacs, we can all share”
4.) “Wrestling Boot Traveling Band”
I didn’t expect to hear Jimmy Hart sing lead, but here we are. This comes across as a drinking song that might be palatable at 12:45 on a Saturday night and everyone is so blitzed that they don’t know how many fingers they have, or what a finger even is, and will sing along to any asinine song that is playing in the background. It is completely lacking in references to Hogan and America, making it an anomaly so far.
Sample lyric: “And I’ll send you a post card whenever I can / Sincerely, the Wrestling Boot Traveling Band”
5.) “Bad to the Bone”
Surprisingly, this isn’t a cover of the George Thorogood song. Instead, this is a song in which Jimmy Hart, who stands five feet tall and probably weighs 96 pounds when soaking wet and holding a brick, brags about how much of a badass he is. There’s another decent song-closing guitar solo here, but there’s no way anyone can buy into any of this.
Sample lyric: “Turn up the fire cuz we like to rock and roll / The girls all know that we’re out of control”
6.) “I Want to Be a Hulkamaniac”
Hogan is back behind the microphone, and he is rapping again. The beat sounds like something New Order would have cooked up on an off day, and Hogan’s sentiments about doing good come across as authoritarian rather than adorably cheesy. This is as good a place as any to share Killer Mike and El-P’s shoot on Hogan.
Sample lyric: “Can you feel the music, can you feel the beat / You don’t need drugs to move your feet / When a dealer tried to push on you / Just tell him what you’re going to do
7.) “Beach Patrol”
Watch out, fuckers: Hulk Hogan is a goddamn lifeguard and he will beat the shit out of you if you try to feel up girls on the beach. He’ll do it, too, while rapping about how much you suck while music from “Maximum Carnage” for the SNES plays in the background. He is the Beach Patrol, and he won’t hesitate to rip your dick off.
Sample lyric: “Whoomp, there it is, check it up, check it in / You’ll be six feet deep if you touch my girlfriend”
8.) “Hulk’s the One”
You know what this album really needed? Linda Bollea singing lead over a “Don’t You Forget About Me” ripoff. And the song is about how she wants to sit on Hogan’s penis. This is crudely funny when you know that the couple eventually went through a messy divorce, but this might be the worst song on the album so far, and that is saying something.
Sample lyric: “You had me hooked from that very first look / You had me down on my knees / You turned on the charm, I heard the alarm / I should have called the police”
9.) “Hulkster in Heaven”
This might be the most awkward tribute song I have ever heard. Hogan spends the entire song singing (badly) about how sad he is that this kid has died, but while I don’t doubt his sincerity, he still manages to come across as pompous and self-serving. It is set to music that wouldn’t sound out of place in a 90’s Sierra adventure game, which only makes the song sound hokey. I wasn’t expecting “Candle In the Wind”, but this fails to be even serviceable.
Sample lyric: “I used to tear my shirt / But now you tore my heart”
10.) “Hulk Rules”
Of course the album closes out with its most generic song. Why should I have expected any different? There’s an inexplicable saxophone solo, and fans of slappin’ da bass will feel satiated by this tune, but after the preceding madness, this is especially irksome.
Sample lyric: “Everybody’s talking trash, but he knows that talk is cheap / If you mess with the Hulkster, he’ll rearrange your teeth”
Let’s be real: no one bought this album believing that it would be a masterpiece. It is a bad genre-hopping album without a pulse, and I know that I’ve lost brain cells listening to it. That said, the novelty of this project is compelling enough for its twenty-nine minutes to sustain itself, and the songs that are the most out-there practically demand to be heard. This is a terrible album, yes, but it is terrible in a fun way. If you know what you’re in for (and I can’t imagine that anyone would go into this album without knowing what they are in for), it is good for some laughs, and that’s more than I can say for some albums I have gone over in this piece of web space.
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Read past editions of Own It or Disown It