I don’t know how history works, but my whole teens, the one Motley song I knew, and the one that was always on MTV2 or Kerrang or Scuzz, was always ‘‘Girls, Girls, Girls.’’ To this day; You say ‘’Motley Crue’’ and I think ‘’Girls, Girls, Girls’’ …like Motorhead and ‘’Ace Of Spades.’’ In fact, until I was about 20 years old it was the only Motley Crue song I ever heard.
Years of watching music TV for hours, and hours, many days a week, and that is the only Motley Crue song I ever heard.
Knowing more about the band now, that seems strange. When you think of it, the million selling ballad ‘Home Sweet Home’ might be this band’s most famous song. Or indeed, any of the singles from the insanely successful career peak Dr. Feelgood. If the band are making that much money and getting that much exposure, then surely those must be the band’s best known song.
If you read or watch The Dirt, it almost seems like this album was just a bit of a footnote in history between the car crash and the sobriety. Yet; as I already said, You say ‘’Motley Crue’’ and I think ‘’Girls, Girls, Girls.’’
Getting the whole album, there’s more to it than just that one omnipresent hit. Opener ‘Wild Side’ is utterly essential listening. I’d rank it in my top 10 ‘Crue songs, alongside ‘Live Wire,’ ‘Louder Than Hell,’ ‘Kickstart My Heart’ and then the majority of the ‘Shout album. I love that slightly off snare beat, with all the reverb on it, you know the one I mean… ‘‘dum-dah -dupah dah.’’ I love the bit when the main riff comes back in over a bunch of energetic cymbal chokes. I love the production. It was the band’s biggest, boldest, most expensive sounding album to date, but wasn’t yet over-polished.
Like the album that came before, there are some weak points… once again an unnecessary cover song (at least they had the wits to put it at the end of the album this time) which is even more bizarrely live, on a studio album, yet not officially being classed as a bonus track. Then, trying presumably to replicate the success of ‘’Home Sweet Home’’ (or perhaps subvert it, considering the lyrics..) there is another ballad. This time though, it is nowhere near as good. Additionally ‘’Nona’’ is a bit pointless to the listener. I mean, if you read the book, and the story behind it, it kind of seems mean to begrudge it. But as a listener who doesn’t feel bereaved, it just comes across as an unnecessary addition. Kind of like GNR’s ‘My World’ in it out of place nature and lack of necessity. It doesn’t add anything for me.
Once again though, like the last album, the band and many fans act as if this album is just two good songs (in this case, ‘Wild Side’ and the title track). Once again, I disagree. I have to say, ‘Dancing On Glass’ is really good. I like how dirty it sounds, I don’t know if there are horns on it or just something that sounds that, but it has some really memorable bits, it has some fun drum parts and the lyrics are pretty interesting. The female backing vocals also remind me the tiniest bit of Pink Floyd’s Great Gig In The Sky… (the tiniest bit).
The best non-hit on the album for me is ‘‘All In The Name…’’ which is a bit like a mixture between Motorhead’s ‘’Jail Bait’’ and Kiss’ ‘’I Pledge Allegiance To The State Of Rock N Roll’’ lyrically, and musically one of the most pumping and driving tracks on the whole record. It is such a Motley Crue riff. I don’t know if Nikki or Mick or someone else wrote it, but there is a certain way that Motley Crue guitar parts work, and this is a prime example. So is the title track from this album. So is ‘Kickstart My Heart.’ (I wish I knew more about guitar theory so I could explain it, but all I can think to say is it goes from thin to thick, then turns in on itself).
‘Five Years Dead’ is quite fun too. That’s at least 5 very good songs. ‘Bad Boy Boogie’ and ‘Sumthin For Nuthin’ are passable too and work in album context, but wouldn’t be blowing the wind up my skirt if they were my first exposure to the band. They sound very different from the band who wrote ‘’Bastard’’ and ‘’Red Hot.’’ Definitely more rock than metal. Not that that’s a problem, its more the songs themselves. Not bad, but just not special.
I really wish the band had been a bit more productive though. I know it is selfish asking for more gold. But there are bands who managed to get a lot more work done and a lot less time lost to drugs and legal issues. There aren’t a hell of a lot of tracks on their early albums when you discount covers and intros. Considering how good their best songs are, it’s a shame they never squeezed a three or four more songs as good as ‘’Wild Side’’ out between this album and the last, and really made the albums unarguable classics. I know people who call Motley’ more of a singles band, and excluding Shout At The Devil…I can see why.
Overall; this is a good album, certainly more than just two good songs, but still not their best and not 100% satisfying. But I’d be lying to you if I didn’t say ‘Girls…’ and ‘Wild Side’ were the main attractions.