[Album Review] “Greatest Hits” – Motley Crue

Greatest Hits - Mötley Crüe Album Title: Greatest Hits
Artist: Motley Crue
Year: 1998
Running Time: 73m 54s

Track listing: 1 Bitter Pill; 2 Enslaved; 3 Girls Girls Girls; 4 Kickstart My Heart; 5 Wild Side; 6 Glitter (remix); 7 Dr Feelgood; 8 Same Ol’ Situation; 9 Home Sweet Home; 10 Afraid; 11 Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away); 12 Without You; 13 Smokin’ in the Boys Room; 14 Primal Scream; 15 Too Fast For Love; 16 Looks That Kill; 17 Shout at the Devil ’97

The summer of 1987 and satellite TV is launched in Ireland as part of our basic cable TV access. Sky Channel is one of the first channels we experience and in order to fill their basic schedule, many hours of music-video shows are broadcast. Most of them were right up my street – top pop music and the latest chart sounds. But when ‘Monsters of Rock’ came on, Mick Wall’s growling introductions to loud, obnoxious, tuneless tripe was too much for me – switch right off, I did. And then one day I heard ‘Girls Girls Girls’ and that’s when things changed.

Despite being enamoured with the above mentioned macho rocker, Motley Crue were never a band I took much interest in. No sooner had I switched off ‘Girls…’, than I was tuning into Aerosmith and Guns N Roses, and Motley Crue were soon forgotten about. My view of the Crue were that they were a Glam band that were stuck in some sort of early 80s timewarp. It was with a little trepidation that I checked out the greatest hits collection.

Starting at the top are two brand new recordings. Both are fairly decent efforts. ‘Bitter Pill’ starts out melodically before cutting into a familiar hard rock riff reminiscent of mid-90s Megadeth, and the chorus is foot-tappingly good – a good mix of power and melody. ‘Enslaved’ also has an undeniable hook but is a little more pedestrian than it’s predecessor.

The fifteen other tracks stretch from 1982 to 1997. I’ll take you through it, studio album by studio album.

‘Too Fast For Love’ is the title track from the 1982 album and is the only track from the album featured in this collection. It’s a cool little punk-rock offering that was certainly a sound basis for what was to come after. From the 1983 album “Shout at the Devil”, comes ‘Looks That Kill’, a quintessential 80s slice of hard rock. The macho ‘lad’ mentality was starting to become more evident and was a perfect compliment to the hairspray and leather trousers.

The top 10, 1985 hit album “Theatre of Pain”, is responsible for ‘Home Sweet Home’ and ‘Smokin in the Boys Room’ – two very different but very brilliant songs. The former is a Queen-style epic power-ballad (even if it only weighs in at 4 mins) and the latter is a classic ‘in-yer-face’ teen anthem, that is probably best described as a light-hearted equivalent to Pink Floyd’s ‘Another Brick in the Wall’!

The 1987 album “Girls Girls Girls” reached #2 on the Billboard charts and this was the album that really broke the Crue into mainstream consciousness. ‘Wild Side’ sounds a bit dated now and probably suffers from a lackluster chours but ‘Girls Girls Girls’ is a classic rocker that personifies Motley Crue’s smarmy ‘spit-and-stare’ attitude – guitar riffs slide in and out accompanying sleazy lyrics and grinding rhythm.

1989 was the pinnacle of Crue’s career as the album “Dr Feelgood” goes to #1 in the States, and five of the singles are featured on this compilation. ‘Kickstart my Heart’ and ‘Dr Feelgood’ are mid-to-fast paced rockers and ‘Without You’ sees Vince Neil go mushy on us. None of them particularly stand out but won’t endanger your health either. ‘Same Ol’ Situation’ is a definite result of Bob Rock’s production. Bob Rock is the man who propelled Metallica into the mainstream and it seems that he did the job very well with the Crue two years beforehand. ‘Same Ol’..’ rocks along with a cool little descending intro and a steady anthemic chorus. Nice stuff.

The standout track for me is ‘Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)’. Vince Neil tries to set the record straight with his ‘baby’ to a wonderfully powerful acoustic backing. This is a classic example of how bad boys can get away with sentimentality without losing credibility.

‘Primal Scream’ is taken from the previous greatest hits collection (“Decade of Decadence”) and is included here because it’s rather good – gritty and powerful but not devoid of the Motley groove.

Vince Neil took a hiatus from the band after this but returned to the fold to record the 1997 album, “Generation Swine”. Three of this albums tracks grace this greatest hits album. ‘Shout at the Devil 97’ is a re-recording of the 1983 classic and ‘Glitter’ is an emotional orchestral ballad and a new departure for the band. They pull it off reasonably well I think. Interesting to note Bryan Adams collaboration on this track. ‘Afraid’ is a pretty nifty little song – modern and almost, dare I say, indie-style? Just a little anyway…

And that’s the lot. No turkeys, and very little to put you off a purchase to be honest. ‘Girls Girls Girls’, ‘Smokin in the Boys Room’ and ‘Shout at the Devil’ are all rock classics and they are supplemented wonderfully by newer stuff like ‘Bitter Pill’, ‘Afraid’ and ‘Don’t Go Away Mad’. The Crue…I never knew there was so much to them!


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