No band epitomised the spirit of the 1980’s more than Motley Crue. Their glam image, debauched lifestyle and catchy metal music really captured the imagination of the world during that period. At the peak of their success they released what many consider to be their best album; Dr Feelgood.
Released in September 1989, the album was the Crue’s most eclectic collection of songs to date. Featuring the legendary classic lineup of singer Vince Neil, guitarist Mick Mars, bassist Nikki Sixx and drummer Tommy Lee, the album is packed with attitude and catchy songs, which makes it a real timeless album.
The album opens with “TNT (Terror ‘N’ Tinseltown), a collection of sounds which set the tone for the album. “Dr Feelgood” is the opening track, and with its signature drum groove, really blasts Motley into the stratosphere. Neil’s vocals really soar here and his sense of melody is fantastic. He keeps the clean vocals without losing any of the attitude that makes the Crue such a great band. This is a fantastic opener, and one of the genuine highlights of the album.
Next is “Slice of Your Pie” which is a real sleazy rock and roll number, which again really shows the spirit of the 80’s in Hollywood. It is just classic Motley with the epic groove and funk influenced heavy guitar riff. Mick Mars’ guitar really keeps this song anchored together and provides the colour over the top when needed, along with Neil’s vocals.
Following this is “Rattlesnake Shake” which has funk influence all over it. The groove instantly gets the listener’s foot tapping and the simple yet effective riff provides a fantastic sonic palate. The addition of a brass section later in the song really provides an extra dimension to the song, and the piano really shows Crue’s versatility as a band, as well as the fact they are not afraid to try new things.
Next up is arguably the best song on the album, the iconic “Kickstart My Heart”, which was written about an infamous night Nikki Sixx experienced where he had to have his heart restarted after he collapsed on a beach after a particularly hard party. Tommy Lee’s drum performance on this track is simply sensational and he drives the song along at breakneck speed, while the riff and lyrics rattle out with gun-like precision. The true highlight of this song however is the clean breakdown in the mid-section. Again, Motley’s versatility is on show and their well rounded songwriting attitude is here for all to see. This is just a fantastic song.
The song tasked with the job of following this masterpiece is the heartfelt ballad “Without You” which shows Motley’s soft side. Neil’s vocals here really stand up with some of the greats of all time and the guitar line is subtle yet technical. A real surprise highlight, and one that is required to be played at full volume with a beer in hand.
Up next is the brilliant S.O.S (Same Ol’ Situation), a real staple of Crue’s live show to this day. The simple structure of this song makes it a real crowd favourite and the attitude of the effective lyrics make it a sing-a-long classic. This particular song really has the feel of Motley’s album “Girls, Girls, Girls” and brings out the fun loving side of the band; four guys enjoying playing the music they love and having a good time, which really comes across here.
Following on from this is “Sticky Sweet”, which has a classic Mick Mars guitar riff, underpinned by a wonderful Nikki Sixx bassline. This allows Tommy Lee’s drums to really swing and give the song a wonderful feel. Neil’s vocals again soar over the top and make this song one of the best on the album. It is probably the most surprising as it is not as well known as some of the other songs, which is a real shame because it is just fantastic. It’s a real underrated gem in Motley’s back catalogue.
Next up is “She Goes Down”, another underrated song which is possessed of a wonderful riff which gets stuck in the listeners’ head for days. The use of staccato dis-chords by Mars really adds a different sonic dimension, and he brilliantly simplifies the riff when the vocals kick in. This example of fantastic musicianship is what really set Motley apart from their contemporaries at the time, like Poison and Cinderella.
Up next is the brilliant “Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)”, one of the band’s signature songs. The acoustic led rock and roll song is a real driving ballad which combines all the elements which make Crue such an amazing band. The vocals lead the way, with intelligent lyrics and harmonies creating a beautiful effect. The rest of the band drop back slightly to allow the vocals to take more of a lead and make this song utterly stunning.
Closing the album is “Time For A Change” which is a wonderfully reflective song and a perfect album closer. The pure nature of the music in this song again reflect Motley’s versatility and their ability to write songs about the world around them. Neil’s falsetto vocal on this song is fantastic and is up there with the best in the world. The lyrics are poignant and makes the listener leave the album with a few thoughts about the world. An album that makes you think. Now isn’t that something!
In closing, this is one of the classic albums of the 80’s. With many underrated hidden gems alongside classic tracks which are known by everyone, it really offers up a wide variety of music that everyone can enjoy. Purchase this for your collection, grab a beer and turn it up. It’ll be one of the best things you’ll ever do.