I have managed to avoid Mötley Crüe for most of my life, beyond their biggest songs, and I can’t say I was looking forward to this. But I find myself…. not pleasantly surprised but at least not horrified. For all their reputation as a “hair metal” band, on this record at least they still sound like a metal band, even if it’s one that is completely ignoring the rumblings occurring in the underground.
The first thing I got to get out of the way is how much they sound like less bluesy AC/DC at times; Vince Neil occasionally sounds like an American Brian Johnson (particularly when he speeds up) and at least a couple lyrics are lifted from AC/DC songs. (Also, did I hear a bell on one song? It sure sounded like it.) That takes some getting used to but fortunately they don’t always sound like AC/DC and Mars really doesn’t sound like either Young, which is good. If every song sounded like poppier or louder AC/DC, it would get pretty tiring.
The songs are catchy enough though not as catchy as I was imagining they would be. (That’s a good thing!) Perhaps the polish of the genre hadn’t really taken hold yet. And there’s more variety here than I ever would have imagined, including tracks that sound like they could have come off a mid 1970s British (pre-NWOBHM) metal record. It feels like a silly thing to get excited about acoustic guitars on an ’80s metal record but they were relatively rare.
By the way: I don’t like the “Helter Skelter Cover.”
The thing that really takes me aback in the production, both the bottom end and the in-your-face presence of the guitar. This adds a lot and I can imagine that, had it been mixed differently (i.e. like hair metal), then I might have disliked it, or at least been less convinced about its metal bonafides.
Anyway, this doesn’t suck! That’s good! It’s still pretty derivative but I’d take it over a lot of other “hair metal.”