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Jigsaw Jimmy - 90%

SweetLeaf95, September 13th, 2018

Ah yes, it’s always interesting when bands pump out one of their biggest albums with the most hits on it right before shit gets ugly. I don’t mean ugly from a musical standpoint, but more so the fact that it’s when the band would face the most troubles amongst themselves; the drug use was at an all-time high, their behavior was getting the best of them, and the swimming in success would ultimately lead to these issues. We all know it resulted in the removal of Vince Neil. Guns ‘N Roses syndrome anyone? Anyway, Dr. Feelgood was the album the finally got the glam sound perfected. The two previous weren’t bad by any means, but a significant step down from the first two. This one almost reaches that early potential, though. It’s the one with all those big LA and MTV hits. The well-received “Kickstart My Heart” and the beloved ballad “Without You” were brought to us on this platter. But really, the walls are held up by many other forces, and there’s a reason that it did as well as it did. Never mind the fact that thrash was reaching technical peaks in 1989, glam was nearing an end, and it’s good that Motley Crue went out with a bang.

What it boils down to, is that Dr. Feelgood has the same raw power and focus on heavy metal riffs as what made the first two records great, but it manages to fuse the poppier glam stances that followed up with this in a way that worked better than ever. The title track completely rides on dropped notes and heavy distortion with the beefier sections being in the verses and reeling in the cleaner pop related tactics into the chorus with the gang vocals. Not to mention, that there’s an absolute shredder of a solo present. “Same Ol’ Situation” and “She Goes Down” are also others that hone in on heavy rhythms combined with strong melodies. Chord progressions in “Don’t Go Away Mad” represent some of the band’s finest. And best of all, the album stays very consistent, whether the track be a metal anthem, a hard rocking pop infused track, or one of the two ballads. The production is clear, and the same attitude is withheld for the length of all eleven tracks. By the way, album closer “Time For Change” is the other ballad from this record, and it blows “Without You” out of the water. Organs and a piano as well as strong harmonics bring this song up a few notches.

The only issue this record has is that sometimes Vince Neil’s vocals get a bit nasally. This had happened on earlier albums, but it’s a bit more prevalent here, and can sometimes come off as whiny. If you’ve heard him recently, almost everything he sings sounds like that. Thankfully, it wasn’t all bad back in the day. Others will complain that this record is too poppy, or that the songwriting is too watered down. Really though, the music itself is still crafted very well, even if it is somewhat simple, and the party like vibes and excessive sexual content just make it seem worse. What I find funny is that almost everyone who trashes on this album probably worship’s British Steel, another heavy metal gem that is guilty of all the exact same problems. So no happier vibes and simpler structure making their way into the tunes is going to allow this ship to sink.

When given the right amount of attention, Dr. Feelgood is almost the ideal Motley Crue release, seeing that it rips ideas from every record that preceded it. The lyrical content and the fact that it flooded MTV leaves a bad taste in peoples’ mouths, but it’s just a consistent, fun heavy metal album that has some lighter touches and would wind up marking the end of the bands wild success.