In the world of Dokken is there a better title for a comeback release calling itself “Dysfunctional” considering the mess of drugs/egos and whatever else tore this band apart and broke them up at the tail end of 1988?

Didn’t think so.

But in 1995 mired in musical quicksand from a genre (80s) that many had moved on from Dokken returned with the classic lineup of Lynch/Dokken/Pilson and Brown. I have to say they released one fine album that maybe be right up there at times as one my favourite output of Dokken’s.

“Inside Looking Out” leads off and has a mixture of perhaps a current sound of the time with the best of the 80s vocally during the chorus.

See thats the thing with this album. Dokken attempted to change and go with the current flow of music yet still keep their sound from the decade before as tracks like “Hole In My Head”, “Shadows of Life”, “Lesser of Two Evils” prove.

What broke Dokken wide open back in 84 was the power ballad “Alone Again” and on this release Don and the boys don’t forget what put the butter on their toast as “Nothing Left To Say” and the trippy “Sweet Chains”.

“From The Beginning” (ELP cover) has a cool vibe about it with the acoustics and such but it’s the quick little hit of the electric guitar solo from George Lynch that takes the song to the next level.

For me the three best tracks on here are “The Maze”, “Too High To Fly” and “Long Way From Home” which are classic Dokken but as I wrote earlier a sound that was retro yet current.

“The Maze” is like if The Beatles were cranked up on Roids and Red Bull and had Lynch on guitar. What a fantastic chorus!

Speaking of George the guy soars on the six string like the boss he is on this album. But you already know that!

“Too High To Fly” begins chills and builds and builds as Dokken shows its musically muscle by flexing some serious playing. Bassist Jeff Pilson has to get some credit as his backing vocals are cranked right up there with Don’s lead vocals and for this style of rock it fits like a glove!

“Long Way Home” is for me the best of what the band brings to the table as George opens the song up riffing like a lunatic while Pilson and Brown join in the fun. Killer pre chorus and the chorus is Gold.

It’s as if the mid 90s Dokken had to prove that they could go outside the box musically at times which they did and show the world that they could mix up with tempo changes with some stellar playing. In other words chops!

“Dysfunctional” did alright as it debuted on the Billboard Charts at #47 back in 95 which was an impressive chart debut in the midst of a whole different climate musically yet those ugly old issues crept up in the band. After a dismal effort with the next record Shadowlife (1997) Don and George got all pissy with each other again and that was that for many a year…

People though dug this record and it was eventually certified Gold in 2015!

deke’s Stream O Rater Score….9/10

26 thoughts on “DOKKEN:DYSFUNCTIONAL(1995)”

  1. Wow! That is a great score. I’ve never heard this album so had no idea it was any good. I’m reading the Dokken biography now and up to Under Lock & Key in the book. What a mess these guys were together. I need to add this to the list of albums I need to check out.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Saw Dokken in a club way back in the day. They were cool. Never knew they did a cover of From the Beginning. I’m a big ELP fan, so I will have to check that out. Have a great weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “don’t forget what put the butter on their toast”… ummmm a butter knife. Lol

    Great writing Deke

    I agree with the score and your assessment of the three best tracks on the album. Especially Too High To Fly… it feels like this blues swamp jam. A great track.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Speaking of safe / out, did you see that Baseball clip making the rounds, where a guy ended up in a run-down in between home plate and 1st base?
        I didn’t think that was possible – but another runner ended up safe at home plate, and the one who should have been out by a country mile I believe ended up on 2nd base!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. No I will have to look for it Geoff. Sometimes those plays has the players overthinking on how to throw the baserunner out. Its amazing that millionaires can revert back to little league ball at times.
        Shows that they are human!

        Liked by 1 person

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