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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