Sound — 6
It's 1997. Motley Crue just ditched decidedly un-Vince-like singer John Corabi and has reunited with Vince Neil. Cause for celebration, returning to their roots? Eh, not exactly. While Vince may have been back in the band, things were far from perfect. The Motley operation was still stuck in a weird grungy-industrial-experimental phase. Add to this the addition of half-ass producer Scott Humphrey and Tommy and Nikki as Co-Producers, and what results is a very disorganised album. Due to a feud with Scott, the talents of Mick Mars had been barely tapped for this record, resulting in muddy, uninspired guitar tones. It is even likely that Scott, Nikki and Tommy handled guitar duties themselves for some of the material. On top of all this, most to all of the material was written while Crab was still in the band, meaning Vince sounds very strained, almost completely unrecognizable in some parts. All that being said, it's still Motley, and as such, the songwriting still retains some of it's old catchiness, despite being buried under sythetic loops and over-processed, clunky guitar lines. There aren't many, but some standout tracks are Find Myself, Beauty, Glitter, Rat Like Me and Rocketship.
Lyrics — 4
I have always loved Nikki's writing. He is just such a unique lyricist that I always seem to be able to pick out something great in the worst songs. It was really tough this time around to appreciate the lyrics. Nikki seems to be experimenting quite a deal here, diving outside the usual clever, albeit a tad stereotypical "Motley lyrics." On GS, more serious issues are tackled, such as suicide (Flush) to incompetent world leaders (Generation Swine). Now, this is not necessarily a bad thing, but well outside Nikki's area of expertise. Tommy also gets a spot of serious writing in as well, on Confessions and Brandon. Sometimes, the more serious lyrics work well, such as the self-degrading Rat Like Me, or the non-sensical Find Myself. Most of the ballads are good, as well. Rocketship and Brandon are both very cheesy, but I like them, they seem to be legitimate expressions of love. Now, onto the singing. Vince sounds quite different from the classic Motley era. The reason being that, as mentioned above, he was singing mostly material written by John Corabi. His voice is lower, more bitten and sarcastic, sounding for all the world like a hair metal Johnny Rotten. As with the lyrics, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Actually, the only track where Vince really sounds like Vince is the obligatory ballad Glitter. Speaking of vocals, another thing that sets this album apart is the appearances of Tommy and Nikki on lead vocals. Nikki and Vince duet on Find Myself, and all 3 share vocals on Beauty, while Nikki sings alone on Rocketship, and Tommy goes solo on Brandon. Both have quite pleasant voices, but not something I'd like to hear on EVERY Motley album.
Overall Impression — 5
All in all, I wouldn't recommend this album to Motley fans in general, unless you're a completist. In fact, if I weren't a completist, I would simply download Find Myself, Rocketship and Rat Like Me and be done with it. Even the remake of Shout At The Devil is stripped of it's power, mostly by lacking the guitar solo. I advise everyone to pick up the next cd, New Tattoo. Despite lacking Tommy Lee, it really is a great cd, a real return to their roots. If it were stolen, I may buy a new one. But it wouldn't be too high on my list of priorities.