Monday, January 26, 2009

Mötley Crüe

Three things that Mötley Crüe are great for:

1. Co-writing The Dirt, which one of the best books ever, fiction or truth.
2. Comparing their band unfavorably to Nirvana, Guns N' Roses and Metallica.
3. Listening to their awesome music.

I picked up a cassette of Dr. Feelgood around the time that I thought '90s-era Michael Jackson was cutting-edge. After discovering GG Allin I gave it away, only to purchase a used CD copy years later while pining for "Sticky Sweet." The Crüe knew what it was all about--it would be much cooler to say I've spent more time listening to Mayhem and Obituary, but it would also be a bald-faced lie.

On the almost nonexistent event that Mötley Crüe gets any respect in ink, it's usually for being more metal than those poseurs in Bon Jovi. But the Crüe are best appreciated not as a metal band, but as edgy pop artists. They're louder, crazier and more decadent than George Michael or Billy Idol, but they have a similar knack for hooks, melodies and those classic rock n' roll topics. Any time you want to rock out but need a break from blast beats and death grunts, you could do a lot worse.

"Kickstart My Heart"
Robert Rodriguez once named this as the greatest rock n' roll song ever. Debate amongst yourselves, but "Kickstart My Heart" would make a great auditory companion to Desperado or From Dusk 'Til Dawn. Written about Nikki Sixx's heroin OD (he was pronounced dead before two adrenaline shots revived him,) Sixx gave himself the appropriate tribute--a hard-rockin', Zeppelin-biting party anthem that sounds downright deadly on any bar jukebox. Yes, that's Sam Kinison in the video.

"Shout at the Devil"
What the PMRC found objectionable about this one is a mystery--isn't shouting at someone supposed to be a reprimanding? No matter, "Shout at the Devil" is carried by the instant riff and its much-imitated chorus. Whether you're shouting Satan's praises or telling him off, it's hard to imagine anyone with a pulse being unable to enjoy this song.

"Dr. Feelgood"
The Beatles had Dr. Robert, Mayfield had the Pusherman and Mötley Crüe made Dr. Feelgood a household name. In return, "Dr. Feelgood" rocketed the Crüe into megastardom, introducing millions of fans to a band that was high on low life, chock full of catchy songs and entirely remorseless for everything they'd done in the past decade. Strip club tune, meet the stadium anthem.

"Looks that Kill"
Near the start of their career, the Crüe couldn't decide if they wanted to be a party band that wrote about girls or a satanic band that wrote about girls. But no one looks to Mötley Crüe for good decision-making--just for songs like "Looks that Kill," with a sunny yet heavy melody that hinted at their future status. The music video is kind of crap, but it's also the sort of honestly-delivered camp that legions of ironic t-shirt proponents wish they were cool enough to be a part of.

"Rattlesnake Shake"
This is where you fall off the treadmill.

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