Seriously, how good is this album!
If there’s one thing that is hard to do in the music business it’s replace a singer in a band and have it work. For many bands the singer is the pivotal reason why people like your band in the first place. It works on very rare occurrences, Van Halen (the first time) and AC/DC being ones that have made it work. So the reason we’re here now talking about this album is because I wish it had worked with this incarnation of Motley Crue. After the departure of Vince Neil in 1992, Nikki Sixx, Tommy Lee and Mick Mars recruited The Scream singer John Corabi and were ready to once again give the world Motley Crue.
It was 1994 in the midst of grunge and where bands like Pantera were huge, so The Crue, if I may call them that, in an attempt to not still be labelled as a ‘hair band’, came back with a darker image and a promise of something that you’d never heard before and I was so pumped for this, I read every article on it, was waiting with baited breath and bought MC94 the day it was released. I put it on and was instantly blown away, this was heavy! ‘Power To The Music’ was like no Motley Crue song I’d ever heard as quite frankly, Vince Neil singing this just wouldn’t work. The double kick roll in the song, those that know the album know what I mean, that is killer, I knew after this one song that I was in for one hell of a ride on this album, it was like an impenetrable force. Corabi’s raspy vocals suit these darker songs, case and point with ‘Uncle Jack’ a song that deals with child abuse, which couldn’t be further removed from the usual Strip Clubs and girls The Crue were renowned for singing about. The first single taken from the album was ‘Hooligan’s Holiday’ a perfect choice to introduce their new singer, their new look and their new sound, it really is a kick ass song as was second single ‘Misunderstood’ which is filled with acoustic guitars, strings, but builds to a monster of a song well worthy of single release, it is a shame as everyone who knows Motley Crue know that as good as we all thought, well, I thought the album and singles were that it just didn’t work.
Songs like ‘Loveshine’ are a nice acoustic driven track whereas ‘Poison Apples’ is a song that could’ve easily had radio play and is as close as I think the band got to that ‘original’ Motley Crue sound / formula. ‘Hammered’ is another heavy masterpiece and showcases the use of that extra guitar player that Corabi brought to the band, his tone balances Mars’ perfectly. Producer Bob Rock was at the helm of this one and he’d just come off albums like Metallica’s Black Album and Bon Jovi’s Keep The Faith and he of course also did Dr Feelgood for The Crue in 1989 but how he got the band to sound this huge was testament, I can’t fault the production on this album at all. If only he could still make drums sound this good *cough St. Anger cough.* Talking about masterpieces though is when we get to the next track ‘Til Death Do Us Part’ was to be the original title for the album and I still wonder why it wasn’t? This song for me is the best on the album, and trust me, it’s no wedding song, although I did play it at mine and well that didn’t work out so well, thanks Motley Crue. But seriously, this doesn’t even sound like any songs that are released today, it was before its time I feel and it’s a shame it never got to be lifted as a single as I think by the time they were talking about a third, the moment had passed. It’s funny lyrically they say “You know, I’ve lived a few mistakes and I stand by them…” maybe this album was a mistake but I feel it’s often dismissed by the band, which is a shame. Stand by your band…
Another favourite on the album is ‘Welcome To The Numb’ a fun track, great groove and has a cowbell in it, so that’s a win. This is another track that shows us shades of The Crue of old, then we get ‘Smoke The Sky’ with it’s huge riff and blistering guitars throughout and it’s theme of marijuana at the forefront, you actually don’t care what it’s about as you bang your head along with it. ‘Droppin’ Like Flies’ is one of the longest tracks on the album at almost 6:30 and gives us some more deep lyrics and heavy grooves. The album finishes though with a big well, almost power ballad, in ‘Driftaway’ which is an awesome track and it’s acoustic driven feel has you swaying along to it at times almost forgetting you’ve just had your head blown off by the previous 11 tracks but as it fades out you instantly start the album again and go straight back to ‘Power To The Music’ well I do anyway…
I wonder if the one mistake the band made with this album was as simple as not changing the name, had they done that, could the album have been better received? Maybe, but when you slap the name Motley Crue on an album, you expect ‘Girls, Girls, Girls’ and I think a lot of people were confused. Not me, I loved this album, still do and wish a whole lot more people did too. I said it at the start and I’ll say it again. Seriously, how good is this album!
Release date: 1994
Producer: Bob Rock
Record label: Elektra Records
Website: www.motley.com & www.johncorabi.com
01. Power to the Music
02. Uncle Jack
03. Hooligan’s Holiday
06. Poison Apples
08. Til Death Do Us Part
09. Welcome to the Numb
10. Smoke the Sky
11. Droppin’ Like Flies