Motley Crue

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Shout At The Devil - * * * * *

Dr. Feelgood - * * *

Shout At The Devil

My recent obsessive playing of Grand Theft Auto Vice City combined with Vince Neil's appearance on the Surreal Life has rekindled my interest in this band just enough to go back and listen to a couple of their albums. I was thirteen and in ninth grade when Dr. Feelgood came out, so naturally I already own all their shit, I just haven't listened to it in the last ten years. Even back then I remember this being their best album, and that much hasn't changed. Most of their later period stuff sounds horribly dated by today's standards, but surprisingly this album has aged fairly well. For an 80's hair metal band, this record is pretty fucking heavy. Shout At The Devil is a lot more Iron Maiden than it is Poison. Most of the songs are still about dumb shit like sex with underage groupies, but there is an underlying pseudo-satanic theme to the whole record. The liner notes even contain the warning that there may be backward messages in the songs. To this day I still can't figure out what backward messages Motley Crue could have possibly put in their songs, but it's pretty entertaining that they are playing up this whole satanic image for shock value, and that shit was very scary when I was thirteen and before I heard my first Emperor record. Plain and simple this album fucking rocks. In 1983 this band was young and hungry and all fucked up on various drugs and they play this material with a sense of fury and conviction that is rare for a hair metal band. The guitar is heavy as hell and Tommy Lee beats the fuck out of his drum kit with pure brute force on every song. The drums are amped so high in the mix on songs like Bastard, Red Hot, and Looks That Kill that Lee proves himself to be more than a part time porn star, and very possibly the best drummer that a hair band ever had. Vince Neil for his part unleashes on every single fucking song like he means every word of it. There's none of the posturing and girly shit that plagued their later albums. Neil is out for fucking blood on every song, and even when the songs aren't really about shit, he sings it with the conviction that it is fucking gospel to him. This band was at the top of their game in 1983 and this album still sounds good after twenty years. Out of 11 songs, there's not a second of filler on the whole damn record. Even their classy cover of Helter Skelter comes off sounding way better than it has any right to. If you're going to listen to 80's hair metal, this is the fucking record to get, this and Appetite For Destruction. So kids, you know your weird uncle with the mullet, the one who drinks Meister Brau and drives the Camaro. Chances are he probably owns this. Go down to your grandmother's basement right now and borrow this shit from him, you won't be disappointed.

* * * * *

Reviewed: March, 2003

Dr. Feelgood

As a product of its time, this album unfortunately hasn't aged as well as some of its predecessors. That's not to say that Dr. Feelgood is a totally worthless record, but for an album that was their biggest hit and that made Metallica of all people change their sound to match it, this is a surprisingly weak and inconsistent disc. Half of the songs are either great or exceptionally good for their genre and the other half are just fucking awful. The songs you heard on the radio when this album was huge are for the most part fairly good material, and the rest of the album is pure filler. Mick Mars' sick fucking guitar tone on the title track and on Kickstart My Heart are something that isn't diminished by age, and single him out as possibly the most underrated guitarist of this genre. The inherent heaviness of these two songs is indicative of what separated this band from their peers, the fact that they could play their instruments and at times write intelligent sounding material. Without You was their big radio hit on this album, and for a power ballad it is nothing too horrible considering what Poison was up to at the same time. Still even though I haven't heard this song in years, somehow it still seems overkilled. On the reverse side Same Old Situation is a fairly good pop metal song, and Don't Go Away Mad (Just Go Away) hints at some depth and subtlety in their writing and all in all is a pretty decent song. It's all downhill from there. Sticky Sweet and She Goes Down are songs that Winger could have written but would probably be too embarrassed to put on an album. Slice Of Your Pie makes enough double entendres and crude sex references that it would put Warrant to shame, and Rattlesnake Shake is just fucking terrible. The album closes with Time For Change an overproduced We Are The World sing along ballad in which Vince Neil, who was just previously discussing the length of his sexual organs, makes a Sally Struthers appeal to all the children for world peace. The slick production and armies of backup singers on this album only add to its cleaned up radio friendly atmosphere, more or less taking the fury out their sound in exchange for pop metal mass appeal. It's rumored that the band began to disintegrate around this time because Nikki Sixx wanted to start writing more intelligent and harder edged material and Vince Neil wanted to keep writing party anthems. That friction is obvious in the disjointed bipolar nature of this album, and in the end neither one would get their wish. Still between all the filler and horrible music on this record, there are some genuinely great songs. Buy this album if you feel the need to hear Vince Neil make a total ass of himself for about a half hour. If this doesn't sound like an appealing use of your time, listen to tracks 1,2,5,7, and 10, and just skip over the rest.

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Reviewed: March, 2003

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