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Red, White, & Crue

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  • I feel odd even WRITING this review–even odder than I did when I picked up this CD set.

    In short, I never liked Motley Crue in their heyday. When I was in high school, cranking up the Cramps or the Flesheaters on my Walkman, a friend of mine praised the Crue, while I thought they stunk. MTV didn’t help either, rotating “Home Sweet Home” endlessly (and unfortuantely all of the hair rock power ballads to follow). While my friend Frank praised _Shout at the Devil_ and denied that there had ever been a band called Brownsville Station and insisted that “Smokin’ in the Boys’ Room” was an original Crue, I scoffed at his inferior musical tastes.

    So why the hell would I even bother LOOKING at this collection? To tell you the truth, the omens came threefold–first, I got into Brides of Destruction. I saw the video for S.T.F.U. on Headbangers’ Ball and loved it. When I got it, I found out that the outfit was lead by Nikki Sixx, and though it didn’t make me like the album any less, I’d still grimace a bit and say to myself, “This band has a member of the Crue in it.”

    Then, when I went to see _Evil Dead: The Musical_, “Kickstart My Heart” was played during the intermission. Listening, I realized that this was one Crue song that I didn’t mind so much when Frank forced some Crue on the turntable. In fact, I kind of liked it.

    Last, this CD set was basically for free at a sale I came across at a CD store. Enough said–I figured that I could find at least two or three tracks that I liked.

    But in listening to this collection, I’ve come to realize that the Crue was a band that suffered for its desire for fame. They can no doubt rock – “Kickstart My Heart” remains one of my favorites, and “Live Wire” is a juicy one. But other times their songs felt very off-the-mark, sometimes starting with a good hook but falling off very quickly. “Toast of the Town” was like this, as well as “Hooligan’s Holiday,” and “Planet Boom” just plain fizzled out. Some songs suffer for trying to sound too pop, and they just come across as empty.

    I don’t think this set turned me into a Crue ‘fan,’ nor am I sure that it was supposed to, and possibly a Cruehead may think that this collection is just blast after blast of Crue par excellence, but I did come out of it highly pleased with some select tracks, but also kind of thinking that they were a band who had the wherewithall to strike up hook after hook but forwhatever reason fell flat a lot of the time. Rather than distinguish themselves as a singular band in rock mythology, I think they ended up forging themselves as the prominent name of a name brand of rock, for though they proved themselves to be the better of the whole hair-metal pop-rock genre, they never fully came together to do solid music.

    But then again, they had the fame, money, booze and women, and I was just a raging gutter punk, so they may be able to say that the last laugh was theirs.

    Posted on February 10, 2010