Motley Crue
Saints of Los Angeles



by Dave de Sylvia EMERITUS
June 25th, 2008 | 35 replies

Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: It too often sounds like something Nikki Sixx would expect Crue fans to like rather than the top-class rock n’ roll he’s capable of.

Following the critical and artistic success of his 2007 solo-ish album The Heroin Diaries, it was no surprise when bassist Nikki Sixx decided to recruit Sixx:A.M. bandmates James Michael and DJ Ashba to help write and produce the first Mötley Crüe album in nine years, Saints Of Los Angeles. Like The Heroin Diaries, Saints Of Los Angeles was written to coincide with the events of an autobiographical text: the former revolved around Sixx’s memoirs of the same name, documenting the height of his heroin-induced psychomania in 1987; the latest album is the retroactive soundtrack to the Crüe’s 2001 joint autobiography The Dirt, which recounts the band’s history from their troubled childhoods through megastardom and the inevitable fall from grace. Yet, while Sixx, Michael, Ashba and Aerosmith songwriter Marti Frederiksen dominate the album’s writing credits, the music on offer is very self-consciously remiscent of Crüe albums of old- in particular the group’s most successful record to date, 1989’s Dr. Feelgood.

In a sense, this return to past glories is surprisingly seamless. Metallica have spent two decades trying to recreate their ‘80s heyday and haven’t once produced a track as brutal or spine-chilling as ‘Master Of Puppets,’ ‘One’ or ‘For Whom The Bell Tolls.’ The Crüe, on the other hand, excelled at crafting infectious power pop ditties with real heavy metal clout, and in ‘Saints Of Los Angeles’ they’ve produced a single that could rival even the best in their catalogue. Creeping in with a sinister, melodic bass line, the background narration calls to mind the foreboding opening of the classic album Shout At The Devil, but from that point on, it takes on more of a poppy bent, recalling the anthemic style of Dr. Feelgood. The lyrics, too, feed into the pseudo-religious imagery of Shout, as Vince Neil sings (in one of his best vocal performances ever): “it doesn’t matter what you think / we’re gonna do it anyway / we are the Saints / one day you will confess / and pray to the Saints of Los Angeles.”

While the album never recaptures the feckless glory of the title track, it does come close on occasion. ‘Just Another Pyscho,’ ‘Welcome To The Machine’ and ‘The Animal In Me’ recall the mid-90s industrial experiment Generation Swine, mixing swampy metallic riffs with hair-brained punk vocals. ‘Welcome To The Machine’ trips up upon a weak, aimless chorus, but ‘Just Another Pyscho’ flourishes in its chaotic environment as Sixx (through Neil) recounts his struggles with drug-induced psychosis: “they opened up the door to my insanity / they should have slammed it shut right there and thrown away the key.” Opening track proper ‘Face Down In The Dirt’ is also self-consciously reminiscent of Dr. Feelgood, owing particularly to the whammy bar action of guitarist Mick Mars, an infectious punk rock outing that showcases (for once) the show-stealing skills of drummer Tommy Lee, as he alone dictates the transition from verse to chorus in the absence of a significant chord-change.

The generally raised standard of instrumental performance is noticeable throughout the album. While Lee’s drumming may not be emphasised as strongly in the mix as it was under the tutelage of Bob Rock (Dr. Feelgood, Mötley Crüe), this is one of his most technically demanding performances on record, and he’s adds as much to the character of the songs as he ever has. Similarly, it’s difficult to remember a time when Vince has sounded quite so vital. Those who have witnessed his live performances will have been struck by his tendency only to sing the second half of lines to preserve his breath, but there’s little evidence of either fatigue or studio trickery here, and Neil has never sounded better. His performance on the lead single, in particular, is stunning, and his vocals might be the main reason it sounds so youthful and exuberant.

As has been the case with too many Crüe records in the past, however, the standard of quality doesn’t really hold up across all of the tracks. Likely second single ‘Muther Fucker Of The Year’ and the depressingly lightweight ‘Down At The Whisky,’ both of which attempt to recall the hell-raising days when they ruled the Sunset Strip, instead recall the worst of 2000’s turgid New Tattoo, a compromise album that attempted to please the fans of the old shit and attract a contemporary audience but wound up in bargain bins everywhere. And while Saints Of Los Angeles is occasionally stunning, as is consistent with Sixx’s recent return to form, it often sounds too much like something Nikki Sixx would expect Crüe fans to like, rather than the top-class rock n’ roll he’s time-and-time-again proven himself capable of making.

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Comments:Add a Comment 
June 26th 2008


Album Rating: 4.5

Haha i wrote a really good review for this (in my opinion) yesturday, because its been out here in australia for a while. It never came on here though so yeah...good job anyways exept i gave it a 4

June 26th 2008


Very stong review Dave. You cover all bases by listing the positives & negatives in a clear & concise way. Well done.

June 26th 2008


I've only heard the title track from this. It was good, especially the chorus of it. Too bad about it being one of the only great songs on this, though.This Message Edited On 06.26.08

June 26th 2008


Album Rating: 3.5

Really good review. I pretty much agree with everything, except all I want to hear from the Crue are the nostalgic images of the past. I reckon Nikki's songwriting is only ever consistent (compared to his average) when he has a concept to write to, and this cd is no different. I dont think this cd (or any potential crue cd) could ever be more than a 3.5, but I'd call this definately that.

June 26th 2008


Album Rating: 3.5

And even now, I cant stop listening to the lead single. As good and tight as any song they've wrote.

June 26th 2008


Album Rating: 3.0

Great review (of Course). I like their older albums, but I don't think I need another one from them.

June 26th 2008


Awesome stuff. Keen to pick this up. How could you possibly go wrong with a song title like "Motherfucker of the Year"?

June 26th 2008


quite easily. clearly you haven't heard kid rock

June 26th 2008


kudos on the review. I dont think il enjoy this though since i havent been into them for a long time.

June 26th 2008


Good review, but this is a definite skip for me.

June 27th 2008


Never been too fond of these guys, ace review though.

June 28th 2008


Album Rating: 4.0

I loved this album as soon as i got it. But i'm big crue fan, and like almost all the stuff they spit out.

June 28th 2008


Meh, I need to pick this up but I'm afraid. I've hated all their stuff since Dr. Feelgood. Loved that and all the previous ones though.

June 28th 2008


Nikki Six is such a lucky bastard. He is dating Kat Von D, and ill would take all the smack in the world if i seemed cool enough like Sixx for her for one night. Yeah...Kat is a mega babe.

June 29th 2008


It's heartening to see a return to form for the Crue after 20-odd years of mediocrity. Seriously, does anyone like ANY of the tracks (Post Dr Feelgood) on Disc 2 of Red White and Crue? I bloody love big, dumb rock you can turn up stupidly loud and blast away the cobwebs, and this delivers in spades. Long live the saints of LA.

July 2nd 2008


I really don't think I am going to give this a listen.

July 3rd 2008


Saw them perform a song on a late-night chat show, and it was pretty average. Won't be checking this out I don't think. Still trying to give Too Fast For Love the attention it deserves. You can write well.

July 4th 2008


Like a mother fucker better be an ode to the Heartbreakers.

July 5th 2008


Album Rating: 4.0

I'm gonna agree that this album is fairly decent. The title track rocks hard, liek Primal Scream hard. However I will disagree on the point of Vince's voice. He's not really hitting the notes he used to, and it seems to be a lot weaker than it once was. Also... the point of studio trickery, is just that, trickery. If the engineer did his job right, there won't be a sign of it, but it's used on almost every album released nowadays.

Storm In A Teacup
July 5th 2008


Damn I'm kind of disheartened after learning that Sixx AM are really the ones who wrote the album, but I guess I can still listen to some of the new songs.

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