Sound — 7
"Tommyland: The Ride," out June 2005, is Tommy Lee's second solo album and the one that's supposed to reveal his inner world (according to him). It's the soundtrack to his tell-all book from last year and takes the name from the book's name as well. The album has quite a freaky bag of guests that include Matt Sorum, Butch Walker, Carl Bell, Benji & Joel Madden, Nick Carter, Deryck Whibley, and Dave Navarro. Motley Crue and Backstreet Boys? Weird combination. Or we shouldn't judge the musicians by what they were forced to do in their past projects? The opener "Good Times" made me be like "Did I put Switchfoot CD in my CD player by mistake?" It's hard to believe that soft-pop-rock songs belong to Motley Crue drummer. I can imagine Tommy being like "Really, my new CD is music that I like. I'm really into pop, bro! I play in Motley Crue just so that people would think I'm cool." In fact Tommy confesses he likes Switchfoot, so that might as well be true... Driving guitars of "Trying To Be Me" is the first sign to remind Tommy is still Motley Crue's drummer. A pretty good song from a musical side, but cheesy because of it's lyrics. A song about how hard it is to be a rock (or pop?) star nowdays -? all those cell phone cameras, paparazzi... Probably the song with the most pop-contents, it smells like "Backstreet Boys." I started to think that singing about "I am what I am" and "I just want to live the way I want, I am just a man" is finally out of fashion after everybody, including Lindsey Lohan, sang about that... And this song was picked to be a single -- weird. I wish his management chose a different audience, than teenage girls, for Tommy's records. "I Need You," featuring Andrew McMahon from Something Corporate, was probably inspired by X-Files. Quite a good song though, except the association with dark cellars, aliens and water, dropping from the top, drown by swirling keyboards. The song as well has melancholy mood and violins in the best traditions of tearful ballads. The duet with the British female singer Dirty Harry "Makin' Me Crazy" is the most interesting track on the album. It would take you some practice to learn to sing the chorus as fast as they do. "Sister Mary," featuring crunchy guitars, is the only song from the whole CD that could appear on Motley Crue's album. Closing acoustic version of "Hello Again" is better, than the original song in the begging of the disc. Tommy's voice's very honest and soulful, it seems that he's singing, sitting next to you with his guitar.
Lyrics — 6
I'm actually happy Tommy made this record to show us he can sing pretty well, instead of sitting behind a drum-set all the time. He got some help from his friends -- Good Charlotte's Joel Madden yells out at the top of his vocal abilities "Tommy got tired of Pamela, Ed got tired of Salma, Puffy got tired of J.Lo and Ben did, too... I'm just tired of you!" in "Tired." Unlike most pop songs, the lyrics here are original and fresh at times. Songs have some jokes ?- like that part of "Tired" about finding a perfect girlfriend "She'll be my beast friend/And she'll make me com.plete... And when I find her, I'll take two." "The Butler" is an outgoing message from supposedly Tommy Lee's butler, who talks about garter belts, champagne corks, panties and high heels as well as partying on the roof with plenty of brew. The unobtrusive reminder of what a real rock-star life is supposed to be like.
Overall Impression — 6
Well, with everything I have against pop, I must admit ?- that is a good quality contemporary pop-rock, and it is actually nice listening to and singing along. It brought me some good memories of being in my early teens -? when I believed, that there's nothing better in the world, than boybands. One thing I learned after that time ? if the song is too chart-oriented, it's not music, it's business. Sorry to say, I had these feelings listening here too. I've heard Tommy Lee's work at some other weird projects before. Seems like the musician still hasn't decided "what he's gonna do in the future." It's quite hard to imagine bad boy Tommy making a record with Nick Carter (thanx God it's not Aaron Carter). Not that the CD is bad, it's just far from what I expected, but it's a set of pretty good pop-rock songs with a lot of catchy tunes. Simple and hooky melodies stick in your head and you walk all day, happily singing "Take me awaaaaaaay/To a place where the good times good times roooooll."