Motley Crue seem to delight in confounding their critics. While some had written off the band many moons ago based on several records that were a far cry from more inspired works like Dr. Feelgood, Nikki Sixx, Mick Mars, Tommy Lee, and Vince Neil have risen like the proverbial phoenix with their outstanding new record Saints of Los Angeles.
Sixx has done some of the best songwriting of his career. Songs like the title track and “MF of the Year” rival the Crue’s best stuff. For those that haven’t heard, the record is based on the band’s biography The Dirt, which is also a potential movie, although that is still up in the air at the point due to behind-the-scenes snafus.
The record traces the formation of the Crue, early days and the things that happen to a successful rock band like sex, drugs and oh yeah…rock & roll. After the spoken word into “L.A.M.F.”, the next two songs outline meeting and getting the band off the ground. “Down at the Whisky” is where the action starts. You can really feel the nostalgia coming through this track as if it’s the favourite part of the band’s history.
The title track flexes its considerable muscle with an excellent chorus. I actually didn’t think all that much of it when I first heard it at the press conference. However, after a couple of spins, evidently I was lost somewhere in space cuz it is stuck in my head now. The band’s silent ace, Mick Mars, contributes yet another bone-rattling riff, something he should get far more credit for. By far, my favourite track on the record is “MF of the Year”. The sinister verses give way to the steroid-driven chorus which is right up with “Shout at the Devil” and “Looks That Kill”.
The sleazy “The Animal In Me” is a brutal but honest look at what happens when things (or in this case girls) are thrown at you like rice at a wedding. It’s a case of bigger, better, best and how you go looking for the next thrill after each subsequent one wears off. Tommy Lee’s only songwriting credit belongs to one of the stellar tracks, “Just Another Psycho”.
“This Ain’t a Love Song” is resplendent in its seedy glory, following up from “Chicks = Trouble” --- get the feeling these guys have known a few women in their time? Another winner is “White Trash Circus” accentuated by the raunchy guitar of Mars.
By far, this is my favourite complete record by the Crue. Their early stuff still stands up as some of their best but there’s really no fat to trim away on this disc. Vince Neil sounds great. I’ve already talked about how Mars’ guitar is a cornerstone to the Crue sound. Tommy Lee sounds as energetic as ever behind the kit. And the man, himself, Nikki Sixx (along with his Sixx A.M. bandmates) has written a jewel of a record. Critics will have to eat their words cuz the Crue is back!!!!