Dr. Feelgood was apparently a stratospheric success. Numerous singles. Heavy MTV rotation. Six times platinum. An iconic production job. Guest stars. A very large part of their biography is dedicated to discussing the writing, recording and touring of it.
I’ve gotta say, when I first heard it… I didn’t care for it. For about 7 years, I thought there were only two good songs on it. (The title track, and Kickstart My Heart). Hypocritical I know. My last two articles have complained about people thinking those albums only have two good songs and here was me doing the same.
I really wish they wrote a whole studio album the time they released ‘Primal Scream.’ That is one of the band’s best songs and I would argue better than 75% of this record, and I really wish there was more where that came from.
However; About 2-3 years ago I decided I had to revaluate it. I always thought it was completely chocked full of ballads, but really there are only two, spaced pretty far apart. I don’t know where I got that idea from. Perhaps its because the intro to ‘Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)’ sounds like it could go ballady. As it turns out it actually goes into a huge bouncy Kiss direction. The drum pattern is very non-Tommy Lee. It’s a lot of fun. It sounds like sparklers and stage lights.
Also, I dismissed a lot of songs because of the lyrics. ‘She Goes Down’ for example, I always dismissed due to its lyrics. But with such fun riffing and vocals, it is undeniable. If I can love bands like Led Zeppelin (‘’Squeeze my lemon til the juice runs down my leg’’) Deep Purple (‘’a cunning linguist’’) and Kiss (‘’…every kiss song ever…’’) then why is ‘She Goes Down’ a step too far?
I remember hating ‘Rattlesnake Shake’ due to the horns, but now I don’t see what the big deal is. ‘Sticky Sweet’ and ‘Slice Of Your Pie’ are decent, but I could live without them. They fit the overall vibe of the record though.
Stylistically, I don’t think there is any song that sounds like it could be on any other Motley Crue album. Its strange that it all sounds right in a live set, or on a compilation together. But its hard to imagine the band that wrote ‘Looks That Kill’ or ‘Take Me To The Top’ also wrote ‘Time For Change.’
Of the first 5 classic Motley Crue albums, it is still my least favourite, and just like when I started out, I think the best two songs on it are the Title Track and ‘Kickstart My Heart.’ But that I guess all boils down to what the rest of my taste in music is and where I’m coming at this from. But my tastes have changed over time. I remember for example hating Aerosmith as a teenager and now I am a fan. I remember hating all ballads as a preteen and now many of my favourite songs are ballads. I remember the first time I heard Kiss’ Destroyer album, the only two songs I liked were ‘Detroit Rock City’ and ‘God Of Thunder.’ But I can stick this album on front to back now and enjoy every song. I can understand why it sold boat loads. I can understand why it may be someone else’s favourite Motley record even if it isn’t mine.
If I had to rank the early albums, Shout would come out on top every time, Theater would be second (in the format I have rearranged the track-listing with), Girls 3rd, then Too Fast and finally this.
That being said, its still miles better than anything they’ve done this side of the new millennium.