Sixx:A.M.
Heroin Diaries Soundtrack


4.5
superb

Review

by Halez USER (79 Reviews)
July 1st, 2023 | 16 replies


Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A shockingly real and introspective look into one of rock’s most troubled figures

It’s pretty obvious to anyone aware of him that Nikki Sixx is the pure embodiment of the “sex, drugs, rock & roll” persona taken to its absolute limit. Hell, the man was declared clinically dead after a heroin overdose in 1987 only to be revived by a paramedic who was, by pure coincidence I’m sure, a Mötley Crüe fan. That’s what “Kickstart My Heart” was all about, after all. But yeah, him and the rest of the Crüe boys were knee-deep in the cultural phenomena of the time; reckless hedonism, drug abuse and keeping up the lavish lifestyle of rock n’ roll was the name of the game. Eventually, that comes with a cost though, and The Heroin Diaries Soundtrack here is a painstakingly real reminder of the consequences of living so brazenly, as penned by one of rock’s most notable figures that got caught up in all of that.

The Heroin Diaries Soundtrack is an adaptation of Sixx’s memoir of the same name, which was released approximately a month after its musical counterpart. The spoken-word sections, present especially on the opener “X-Mas in Hell”, the closer “Life After Death”, and the bridge of “Girl With Golden Eyes”, are either direct excerpts from the memoir (“X-Mas in Hell” derives from the December 1986 section, and “Girl With Golden Eyes” sums up the ten days of rehab that Sixx claimed saved him after his overdose) or are otherwise related to the themes of the book (“Life After Death” reads as an overall summary of Sixx’s life experiences), and they shed light on the pure authenticity of the writing. Obviously, he isn’t line-for-line reading the book in these moments, but they add a sense of connection if you’re listening to the music while reading along.

There’s something so intriguing about the perspective shown here. Instead of glorifying the life he’s lived with no remorse or regrets, Sixx aimed to shed light on the very real consequences of drug addiction. He’s lived it, after all. “Girl With Golden Eyes” personifies heroin as if it was a relationship with a woman he’s addicted to, or perhaps a one night stand; lines like “and though I hardly know her, I let her in my veins and trust her with my life” carry a sense of earnestness when penned by someone who’s lived it and knows the feeling. “Life Is Beautiful” tells the story of Sixx’s overdose and sends the message to recovering addicts that they have something to live for beyond their addiction. It’s done in an easy-to-understand way, and the writing is simple yet earnest enough to resonate with listeners who’ve either been there, or know someone who’s been there. “Dead Man’s Ballet” sheds light on familial issues that likely led Sixx down the direction he did; “yeah, you, you miserable father, the one who ignored me for half of my life” is a biting dig at the fact that he was abandoned by his dad at a young age.

Let’s not forget to mention the musicians Sixx recruited for The Heroin Diaries Soundtrack either. On the mic is James Michael, and to put it simply; he’s leaps and bounds the strongest vocalist Nikki Sixx has worked with on a record, and leagues ahead of Vince Neil. He performs every song here with a sense of feeling so strong that it’s almost as if the spirit of Nikki himself embodied him to give it his all. The “everything will be okay / everything will be alright” refrain towards the end of “Girl With Golden Eyes” is one of the most heartfelt performances out there in a mainstream rock album like this. Guitarist DJ Ashba puts the pieces all together with stellar solos and interesting guitar effects. And the drums? Well, they were programmed by a drum machine, but I’d be lying if I said that was immediately obvious; the drums on here somehow sound more human and realistic than some of the drum samples that obscure the talents of many a talented drummer in mainstream rock and metal (looking at you, every single band Kevin Churko got his grubby little hands on) in an attempt to sound more “arena ready”. The samples here are mostly understated, and they get the job done without being distracting.

What makes this album so enthralling isn’t some masterfully technical lead guitar work. It isn’t the most deftly-woven metaphorical piece of music. You’re not going to be comparing it to stuff like Lateralus or OK Computer in a conversation. At the surface, it may not seem like anything special, as it is still just no-nonsense hard rock. What it is, however, is one of the most authentic pieces of no-nonsense rock from one of the genre’s most troubled figures when it comes to letting the lavish lifestyle consume him. It’s a shockingly real album, tackling the struggles of the addict that was Nikki Sixx in one of the most simultaneously intriguing but also easily-digestible pieces of rock. It’s the apex of everything the man has done, as nothing from Crüe is this introspective, and nothing that’s come after this has felt entirely necessary as a figment of Sixx’s storied career.



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user ratings (236)
3.8
excellent
other reviews of this album
Dave de Sylvia EMERITUS (4)
Heroin Diaries Soundtrack features some of the most emotive and consistent songwriting of Nikki Sixx...

ChaosInACan (4.5)
...



Comments:Add a Comment 
veninblazer
July 1st 2023


16839 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I've got a few other review ideas in my mind, but I just felt like tackling this one.

Koris
Staff Reviewer
July 1st 2023


21298 Comments


I like how productive you've been lately! Good review too, pos

Never really checked these guys out tbh, despite enjoying a number of Crue records

Spec
July 1st 2023


39659 Comments


JUST OPEN YOUR EYES AND SEE THAT LIFE IS BEAUTIFUUUUUUUL

Emim
July 1st 2023


35501 Comments


Life Is Beautiful is a jam but never checked the rest. The 4.5 has me doing the Fry squint tho

veninblazer
July 1st 2023


16839 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

@Koris: i've had a lot of free time lately lol and yeah give this a go, you might like it. It's a different vibe.

@Emim: I imagine for you it'd be a 3-3.5? It just resonates with me a lot due to the more personal and introspective writing.

Spec
July 1st 2023


39659 Comments


I think I only ever listened to the full thing once but it had some jams; even though I can only remember the rock band song. This review is probably gonna get me to revisit it.

veninblazer
July 1st 2023


16839 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah this should be a fun revisit for you. I went back to it quite a few times across the last couple weeks to formulate the review. Even found a PDF of the book to verify some of the spoken word passages' connection.

DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
July 1st 2023


18340 Comments

Album Rating: 4.4

The only legitimate work I actually enjoy from Nikki. Motley are for the most part trash and so is anything after this for sixx am, but this is lightning in a bottle

veninblazer
July 1st 2023


16839 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I'm pretty much neutral on Motley's prime work (Dr. Feelgood has some jams) and the stuff after this is...fine? but wholly unnecessary compared to this.

mkmusic1995
Contributing Reviewer
July 1st 2023


1822 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I remember enjoying this a good amount. The singles are definitely highlights here. Very nice review venin! :D

bellovddd
July 2nd 2023


6395 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

oh wow. I've read the book and its a fantastic read and I really enjoyed this album. Completely forgot about it till now! Good write up.

veninblazer
July 2nd 2023


16839 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

one of these days I need to read it in full. might wind up 5ing this after i do.

NekoNeferPitou
July 3rd 2023


29 Comments


I remember jamming Pray For Me in highschool a bunch when I was like 14. This review has me thinking of giving the whole thing a spin.

veninblazer
July 3rd 2023


16839 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah Pray for Me is a jam. Highlights for me were Dead Man's Ballet, Girl With Golden Eyes (why do you think I focused on that one so much?) and the big single Life Is Beautiful.

bellovddd
July 3rd 2023


6395 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

been jamming this today. I forgot how much i loved it.

veninblazer
July 3rd 2023


16839 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah this one is lightning in a bottle really.



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