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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.