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Most people are probably well aware of Mötley Crüe and their reputation for party and decadence throughout their career, especially during the 80's. Truth to be told, however, what band in the 80's did not do some kind of drug? The Crüe just happened to get noticed a lot about their substance abuse because they managed to crank out some great albums through that decadent lifestyle. Then came 1989, things were changing around the globe, and some asshole got the brilliant idea that they should get sober, hence the album's title - Dr. Feelgood.
After their successful yet rather mediocre effort Girls, Girls, Girls in 1987, many fans were probably left confused and concerned about the Crüe's future. That album really seemed to divide their fan-base into two camps - those who liked it, those who hated it. So when their sobriety and new album landed in 1989, all those fans were gonna find their answer. The album starts off with a short prelude to the album's title track, and it's actually a rather good sign that something's pretty good is about to come, and so it happens. A heavy and groovy metal beat kicks in and the Crüe hasn't sounded this heavy since their legendary Shout At The Devil album in 1983. The female choir section from the previous record is still in the house as well - something I personally could've lived without, but it doesn't really sound out of place anyway as they sing-a-long to the chorus.
After this my hopes are starting to get shattered once more, however, as the band kicks into "Slice Of Your Piece" - a rather run-of-the-mill swinging-style track that seemed to be real standard among glam bands between 1988-1992. I just don't like these kind of songs very much. This sound shows to be carrying on into the next track as well. I don't quite remember if the previous album had horn sections, but this album has that as well by now. "Kickstart My Heart" is up next and is one of the band's biggest hits, and while not nearly a favorite of mine, it's at least a lot better than the previous two tracks. After this point, it's once again a continuing downhill run where the band delivers some more cheesy swinging tricks, and of course, the obligatory two or three cheesy ballads.
As a fan of their previous four albums, some more and some less, this album is really disappointing. Their music just seemed to lose it's edge on this record, and I have only got one answer to why that is - the drugs. While I certainly suppose a drug-free lifestyle and all that, it just feels risky when a band market a new album as their "first drug-free effort", when all of their albums were written and done under the influence. There do, however, come a few good thing out of it as well. The band plays better than before and the music does actually feel a lot more "mature". The production is also top-notch, if a bit over-polished, but still heavy (especially the drums) and with crisp guitars. It's just that the old fire, the hunger, it all seems to be gone along with the drugs, and that certainly is a drag.
Ultimately this album ended my interest in Mötley Crüe. The songs tend to sound cheesy and uninspired while the ballads are all cringe worthy, though they did and still will most likely appeal to glam metal chicks. The heavier ballad-esque tracks like "Danger" or "Merry-Go-Round" that were on their early records were like "ballads for men" in comparison. As I said earlier, the prelude and title-track are pretty sweet and are sure to satisfy old fans. Other than that, I don't really find any truly good songs that I'll find myself listening to again. There are some bits and pieces here and there that are not too shabby, but their very limited and often buried in songs that are otherwise horrible.
Check out the title-track and perhaps "Kickstart My Heart", if you like catchy arena-anthems. Other than that there is not much of worth to be found here, and I do feel generous when I give it a 20 % rating. And finally: sometimes drugs can actually be good for you. In the case of Mötley Crüe, they certainly were.
Yes, it's Motley Crue, the Bad Boys of L.A., and the epitome of all of the cliches associated with the '80s. Flashy hair put up 10 feet high, at least six layers of makeup on faces, and almost all of the songs revolving around sex, love, and the rock n' roll lifestyle. It's the sort of thing that dozens of bands followed in the mid to late '80s (most of which never made it into the spotlight), hoping that one day, they will play in front of millions of people in arenas. These bands consisting of White Lion (ugh) Winger (UGH) and Autograph (AAAARRGGGHHH!!!!), and they all followed Motley Crue aboard the '80s bandwagon of imagery that got really old, really fast. If all of these cliches could be piled up into one album, its name would be "Dr. Feelgood".
The members of Motley Crue lived excessive lifestyles in the '80s, so it's hardly a surprise that they liked to write songs about them. For instance, the theme of sex is prevalent on almost all of the songs on this album. I mean, what can you expect from songs entitled, "Slice of Your Pie" or "Sticky Sweet"? Not much, other than getting laid, I suppose. It gets to the point where it gets quite redundant, even annoying. Look, there could be other things that they could write songs about, and the Crue knew that. Their earlier albums at least had songs dealing with things other than sex (eg. "Stick to Your Guns" on their "Too Fast for Love" album is about standing up for what you believe in). Here, 90% of the songs on here are sex-related. It's a sign that Motley Crue got WAY too famous, and decided to use that lyrical theme as a sort of cash cow. The choruses to their songs are also dull and repetitive. They're just there so that it would be easy for the teenybopper audience to sing along. The worst example is the chorus of "She Goes Down", which consists of "She goes down, she goes down, she goes down, down, down, down". Yeah, they really didn't try to hammer the song's title into people's heads when they wrote that one. It's the reason why some songs get stuck in people's heads, and not in a good way, though to be fair, Motley Crue aren't known for writing choruses that are more poetic, but still, repetitive choruses are ANNOYING, and are a trademark of awful pop musicians, especially in the '80s.
And now, let's talk about the music itself. Their songs really aren't much to listen to, for they were pretty generic, even at that time. Songs like "Kickstart My Heart" and "Same Ol' Situation (S.O.S.) pretty much sound like every song from every glam band you've ever heard. They're unoriginal and lame and they really didn't require much to get popular, just some moronic high school jocks and cheerleaders to buy their stuff. And then there's "Rattlesnake Shake" which also sounds like a typical glam song, except it's got a saxophone mixed in. That totally reminds me of Raven's sellout album, "The Pack is Back" album, cos two of its songs had a horn section. I'm pretty sure Motley Crue stooped reeealy low to have a saxophone in there, cos I'm pretty sure that they thought they'd make a lot more money with a jazzy, sexy sound in that song. The only thing that really interests me about this album is the fact that Mick Mars uses a "talk box" in "Kickstart My Heart". But here's the thing, talk boxes are meant for hard blues rock, like the kind of music that Joe Walsh and Jeff Beck make, not metal bands.
Oh, and then there's the "power ballads". We can't really forget about those, can we? Cos "even the bad boys have their soft side, right?" Right. The only reason why they wrote "Without You" and "Don't Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)" is to specifically make the album sell, and sell it did. Like most power ballads at the time, these songs didn't have a lot of thought put into them, they just had to have some syrupy, sugary-sweet lyrics about love and affection and a sweet sounding piano riff thrown in, and the cheerleaders mascara would run with their tears. BLECH! These songs are just as heartwarming as an episode of "Glee". They're just as inspiring as anything Stephanie Meyer would have written. They're songs that really aren't worth listening to cos they're so pretentious, they'd make Tina Turner want to head straight to the bathroom to puke!
Now, don't get me wrong, not all "glam bands" are bad. I much enjoy Dokken, Lizzy Borden, and maybe a little Skid Row, but why couldn't we have more bands like them? Why couldn't glam bands be just as creative and original as Lizzy Borden? Why did "power ballads" have to exist? Why did Motley Crue create this stupid album, anyway? The answers to these questions can be answered with one word; MONEY. Motley Crue did it aaaaaaaall for the money, not even caring much for the structures of their songs, they just wanted to keep the money coming. The result is an invasion of cliches that can be easily stopped by just simply ignoring this album in favor of albums from bands that made music more for the love of music, than the dough.
So, here it is, the work of a clean and sober Mötley Crüe. Having realised that the previous album was an inconsistent mess, as well as Nikki’s overdose, the band clearly decided it was time to clean up, and put out the best album they could. While I’m not quite sure if they accomplished that last bit, Dr. Feelgood is clearly a huge improvement over Girls, Girls, Girls, which was awfully unfocused.
Producing duties are handed over to Bob Rock, and this is one of the things that makes this album stand out against previous records. While Tom Werman’s production on the previous three records was very glossy compared to the debut, this makes those albums sound gritty. Personally, I actually slightly prefer Werman’s work with the Crüe, it’s hard to sound tough , sleazy and streetwise (which is what the Crüe were all about) with crystal clear production. Indeed, the sound here is clearer than a glass of Finlandia.
As I said before, the music is much better than the previous album. The album remains consistent (for the most part) and the songs remain fun. Gone is the bluesy riffing from the previous album, in it’s place is a style more like the glam bands of the time, occasionally straying into Poison territory; it really isn’t hard to imagine Bret Michaels’ voice instead of Vince’s on songs such as the awesomely fun and catchy (and also much better than Skid Row‘s song of the same name and year, for the record…) “Rattlesnake Shake”. While it’s still easy to tell that it’s the same band that put out Shout at the Devil, in the years between that album and this the Crüe have managed to change their sound several times, yet still managed to sound 100% Mötley. The riffs on songs like that hard hitting title track still make the album more metallic than the likes of Poison and Warrant, while the other big single “Kickstart My Heart” is loaded with massive hooks and a cool main riff, but lacks much else. For a fun, fast adrenalin pumped listen though, the song is perfect.
Ballads? Of course, it is glam after all. Dr. Feelgood has two, the first of which is “Without You”, and if I’m honest, compared to previous ballads this one comes off a bit weak. Songs like “Home Sweet Home” and “You’re All I Need”, as well as the 1987 bonus track “Rodeo” all had a huge grand sound to them that’s lacking in this song. It’s not a bad song, but the choruses aren’t as memorable and the hooks aren’t as strong. Happily, the second balled “Time For Change” is more up to scratch with earlier ballads, and is a proper Hold Up Your Lighter kind of song.
I’d also like to give a special mention to the song “Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)” as well, a song that isn’t quite a ballad, but is very emotional but also has a healthy dosage of humour to it as well that tells the story of some ill-fated young love.
The is a bit of filler on the album though, particularly the song “Slice of your Pie”. This sits on the track listing in the same way that “Ten Seconds to Love” did on the bands second album; not completely bad, but you can happily skip it. Songs like “She Goes Down” and “Sticky Sweet” are better, but still not up to scratch with the stronger songs.
So, overall then, is it the band’s greatest? No, afraid not, but it’s still a very good listen, and it’s definitely better than Girls, Girls, Girls. Bit of filler, but mostly good, fun and catchy songs. Recommended for all glam fans and Crüe fans
The glam metal movement of the 80’s yielded many things, such as a rise in excessive synthesizer use and STD‘s, but a shitload of good albums wasn’t one of them. And yet just as the decade was coming to a close, sleaze metal stalwarts Motley Crue would put out one more classic album of hair metal anthems. If only every glam release was like this, the genre would probably be a little less despised, though only a little.
The songwriting presented here is a little more focused than on their earlier releases, far more comparable to an album by Extreme than the Crue’s own albums. Sure, this is still party metal, but the songs here are well-executed compositionally. Take this album’s hits for example. “Dr. Feelgood” is a powerhouse, driven by killer, memorable guitar work and the best singing from Vince Neil to date and “Kickstart My Heart” is a high-energy anthem quite worthy of continued radio airplay. The whole album is pretty much consistent to this. Above-average performance with much-less-than-average 80’s cheese (except lyrically of course, “Sticky Sweet” and “She Goes Down” for example) combined with that classic Motley Crue catchiness equals a sure-fire winner. No, this isn’t breaking any new ground, but that’s not a requirement for writing a solid album.
When I say the band’s performance is above-average, I’m not exaggerating. Mick Mars riff work is fantastic, comparable to Nuno Bettencourt’s work in Extreme, and his guitar solos have gotten more technical while continuing to flow perfectly with the songs. Vince Neil sounds better and manages to be less irritating than usual during the ballads (despite somewhat repetitive lyrics). Nikki Sixx and Tommy Lee even sound better, providing a solid rhythm section. In summation: better playing, better singing, better songwriting = better album.
Though I’m not familiar with all of the band’s older material, I think I could say that this is one of their better albums. It still has a lot of the flaws associated with glam metal, but in far less numbers than even the genre’s best acts.
All clean and sober (allegedly) the Crue returned to the studio along with infamous producer Bob Rock and came out with this. It’s still a mass of overproduced fluff but a bit more aggressive this time and is still plain “glam” rockin’ fun. Bob gave them a big sound alright, but his production helped mask the more hard-arsed direction some songs took that could have been allowed to breathe more. When Mick Mars rips out one of his no-nonsense, straight for the throat solos it kind of gets itself buried more than it should, and nowhere is this more evident than the title track.
The intro (Terror N’ Tinseltown), is a menagerie of dark runs on the guitar and sound effect that flows seamlessly into the megaton of rock n’ metal that follows through. The dynamic lead work gets lost underneath the foolproof riff the production so tries to keep on top, though.
Then there are the wholesome 80s bluesy hard rockers, “Slice of your Pie” and “Rattlesnake Shake” which are the fruit of Crue’s ripened songwriting skills. There’s hardly a trace of metal to be found, but they still know how to pump out these memorable songs that don’t bow to predictability. They’re those that feel like they’re in the right place and doing the right job to push the album forward. Paired with the title track, “Kickstart my Heart” (or the “big hit”) is also tougher than most of the rest, but just hasn’t got strong enough foundations to make it really worthwhile. The chorus also tries a little too strenuously to provide bait for the listener. File this under filler with the hackneyed swagger of “She Goes Down”.
Power ballad enthusiasts rejoice! You get a double serving from this album. Both “Without You” and “Time for Change” are typical sounding 80s MTV wet dreams but still have that effect as only the crown princes of the power ballad can provide. Each is drawn along by their heartfelt acoustics and clean guitars with their slow beat and melodic solos, and each is built up adhering straight to a textbook method they themselves set down. Anytime past 1989 and these might have sounded like a last gasp for fame, but for the there and then you have some vital songs. Also notable is “Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)” which marries vibrant hard rocking fun to the intense power balladry coming out with a classy emotional song.
“Same Ol’ Situation (S.O.S.)” and “Sticky Sweet” aren’t either the best or the worst, they just sit there, wholly inoffensive rockers that sound fine but don’t really add much to the album. They still don’t quite merit the filler tag. The lyrics for the most part trump their overt sexuality around but end up really quite cliché and sugary as opposed to shocking. Fortunately they don’t really interfere with the kick ass-ness of a lot of the music. The 2003 remastered version comes with buckets of bonus tracks, highlighted by the demo version of “Dr. Feelgood” which rocks out in a way the album version was restricted from doing. Also included are demo versions of “Kickstart my Heart”, “Without You” and “Time for Change”, which are opposites to their studio counterparts as they stand here bereft of intense studio touching up. There’s also an unreleased track “I Get It For Free” and the video for “Kickstart my Heart”.
At its roots, this is typically standard 80s fare, but the boys knew what they had to do with it, and paced it well but dashing in the odd sections of obligatory filler. I don’t have a total hard on for this album, but it’s got some gorgeous moments.
This album is among the most overrated pieces of crap in the world. Seriously, the overproduced pop-metal fest is just a joke. The Crue' managed to put out a perfect record with the earlier "Shout at the Devil" which features enough dirty words and enough big hooks to catch and sell any fan on earth. Unfortunately for Motley Crue...this album does little to capture that timeless vibe.
This record has one standout track (the double-thumping title track) and a bunch of decent "metal" filler. "Kickstart my Heart" and "Don't Go Awa Mad (Just Go Away)" rock a bit as well. These though, are the only notable tracks on the record. Standing next to tripe about blowjobs, partying and whatever Nikki Sixx was interested in bragging about at the time. Bob Rock does his usual job with the band, and of course, it sold many copies.
The artwork is interesting but the medical symbol on the front did say something about the state of Motley Crue. Despite being clean and sober and "healthy"...the band was on a downward spiral. One killer album later and a somewhat ill-fated reunion the band was already on a dramatic downward spiral once again.
This album actually is just a little better than Girl, Girls, Girls, but not by much. The glam feeling invaded this album, almost to the point where they started sounding like Poison. But there are some heavy songs, which I will explain later. The majority of these songs are fillers and hits. Usually I try to avoid the word fillers, but the songs that aren't hits just aren't that good (save for a few).
Let's talk about the hits for a moment. The album starts off in an emotional state, with a 911 call saying that a 17 year old boy overdosed. Then it busts into one of the Crue's most famous songs. Dr. Feelgood. This song is very cheesy (lyrical wise) but it has one of the heaviest riffs on this album. The next hits (three in a row actually) are Kickstart My Heart, Without You (one of the three ballads on this album), and S.O.S. which is another popular Crue song. Same Old Situation was always one of my favorites because it is very catchy and easy to sing to.
Basically the rest of the songs on this album are fillers. Some of the fillers are cool and some are not. Slice of Your Pie and Rattlesnake Shake explore the sexual side of Motley Crue. Neither songs have any kind of interesting riff or memorable moment. Hey wait...didn't Skid Row have a song called Rattlesnake Shake? Well they came out the same years, so go figure. Sticky Sweet and She Goes Down have some catchy riffs, but damnit why the hell do you need to write so many songs about sex!!! Sing about death and Satan like in the past guys! The last two songs are basically ballad like. Don't Go Away Mad kind of sounds like John Mellencamp wrote it. Time For A Change isn't bad, in fact I think it is a better ballad then Without You, it just doesn't have the recognition that it should.
Overall this album has hits, songs about sex, and ballads. Motley Crue fans probably appreciate this album more than regular metal heads. I think it would be safe to say this album is to glam for metal heads. Only if you like glam metal or Crue, then this album is okay for your collection. Just an interesting note to end the review; Dr. Feelgood could have landed a huge controversy. Take the chorus of that song and replace "He's" with "I am." Saying "I" made the band look like they were Dr. Feelgood, and that they were drug dealers. Obviously the band changed it to avoid a contorversy.
Okay, so they detracted somewhat from the sheer suckage of the previous album. But this still ain't great, by any means. Dr. Feelgood features most everything that was wrong on Girls, but with a few slight improvement.
What's instantly recognizable is that the bass-heavy (and heavy in general) production provides an extra punch for the song that hasn't been evident since Shout At The Devil (with the exception of the song Wild Side...), which shows right away with the chugging riff-rhythms of the title track, which is a really fucking great song.
But, like on the previous album, the great start was misleading, and the majority of the songs on here is filler. But let's start with the good stuff... Dr. Feelgood is catchy as hell vintage Crüe material, only heavier than usual, and is really fun to sing along to.
Then we have Kickstart My Heart, the fucking best Mötley Crüe song ever. Packed with intensity, energy, power and sheer rocking awesomeness comparable to the likes of Breaking The Law and Princess of the Night, this song shows what this band is all about.
"And to think, we did all of this to rooooooock!" Yes, guys, you sure know how to rock. But why, god damn it, why didn't you continue to do so?
No, instead of continuing to rock with songs about fast cars and rocking hard, they keep writing the most pathetic and horrendous sex songs in history.
Slice of Your Pie... "School girl, studied up so well on hoochie coochie"? Listen to Fuck Like A Beast and Burnin' Up, that's how to write songs that will make you wanna fuck. This is just laughable.
And about half of the album consists of these cheesy, pathetic and supposedly sexy pieces of garbage. Rattlesnake Shake, Same Ol' Situation, She Goes Down and the worst of them all.. Sticky Sweet! Argh, I can't listen to these lyrics without laughing out loud.
The awful lyrics aside though, the music ain't that horrible. Songs like Slice of Your Pie and She Goes Down has a nice groove to them. While not being anywhere near the bands better material, there's some fun music to be found here, but it's buried in layers of cheese and ridiculousness.
If you have a high tolerance for the most hideously laughable sexual references you've heard, and you like a good dose of hard rock with heavy metal touches (yeah, aside from Kickstart My Heart and the title track, this is more hard rock than metal...), then you should be able to enjoy this.
And if you rock, you'll fucking go nuts when Vince sings "Always got the cops comin' after me, custom built bike doin' 103" in Kickstart My Heart. Man, if they wrote more songs like this...
Oh, and I almost forgot to mention, there's also one more really good song. Don't Go Away Mad (Just Go Away) is pretty nicely done and very emotional, but keeps a strangely upbeat mood despite being a breakup ballad. Very nice.
But then there are two other ballads on here that are nowhere near that one. Closing track Time For Change ain't horrible, just very mediocre. Then we have Without You, which plods along without getting anywhere, and is the most boring song here.
All in all, this is only essential for fanatical Crüe fans who can find some enjoyment in lyrics such as "She's so sticky, sticky sweet/Now when I've done good, she slaps me on the ass/It takes more than ten seconds to satisfy that lass". Though it's really worth getting just for the title track and Kickstart My Heart, that's how much they fucking rock.
Over and out, or some other catchy closing phrase, shall be inserted here.