Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Motley Crue - Music to Crash Your Car To Vol 1 & 2

Considering the vast, vast, vast majority of posts and reviews on this blog, it should come as somewhat of a surprise that I'm going to actually review not just Motley Crue, not just 1 box set, bout BOTH of them at the same time. The fact is, to paraphrase Zimmer's Hole, "While I was shouting at the devil, I was still in league with Satan!" I grew up listening to a lot of hair metal, and this was, get this, back in1998-2002! I'm not kidding you! While everyone around me was listening to rap, Britney Spears, boy bands, and my fellow metal heads were "enjoying" nu-metal groups like Korn and Slipknot, I said no to them all (Well, except Korn "Issues", which I still like) and instead was headbanging to comps of hair metal that included Twisted Sister, Winger, White Lion, and countless others. In essence, "While You were Rapping About Bling, I Was Getting Sleazy with The Crue!"

With that said, the context I got into Motley Crue is, most likely, 99% unlike how most people did. They either were into them when they started or got into now after the reunion. I was one of those rare people who got into during that horrible post-grunge/industrial era where they tried their Self Titled album (meh) and Generation Swine.

It's worth noting right from the start that, no, not EVERY Motley Crue album is here. The entire set is basically half cash grab/half honest attempt at pleasing old-school fans.

Vol 1 of this set (the entire thing, of course, being named after various members getting into various car crashes, including the one killing a member of Hanoi Rocks) is less of a buy then the second for this simple reason; If you already own the remastered versions of Motley Crue's "Too Fast For Love", "Shout At the Devil", "Theater of Pain", and "Girls, Girls, Girls", then just let this one go. The entire concept here was basically to re-release the entire discography at this point, complete with bonus tracks, and toss in one or two rare tracks. I got all my Crue albums in 1999, and I just want to say I didn't even realize they had re-released them at the time I got them. It wound up being about a month into it. Just kinda good timing, but it seems they re-re-released them again in 2002 or so with the tracks I didn't have.

If anything is worth it, and this is JUST for the ABSOLUTE die-hards, the original Leathur Records version of "Too Fast for Love" is on here. It really isn't that different than the one we all got to hear at first, but it's cool to have if you really care.

Vol 2, though, is the more interesting Volume of the set. Starting off with the "Dr. Feelgood" album (A personal favorite when I was younger; got it in 2000 when I was 16!), the second disc is various live tracks and remixes, some from Decade of Decadence. I had bought that cassette in 2003 (I'm not kidding) and hadn't heard it in a long time, so it was cool to have a shortened version of the CD. Tossing on a few rare and hard to find tracks, like their cover of "Anarchy in the U.K.", made this really cool. This volume even comes with a comic book that came out before they did Dr. Feelgood, and it's pretty cool.

Disc 3 is their attempt at a Self-Titled disc which, thanks to Metallica's "Black Album", has become an excuse for a band to release an album that is supposed to be more introspective than anything. Sadly, it fails miserably here. The entire album was basically "Hooligan's Holiday" played at various tempos and with different lyrics. While some may say it makes an album "solid", it doesn't always and in this case, it isn't one long piece of music broken into sections, it's 13 different songs that sound like shit. I loved "Hooligan's Holiday" and, who knows, maybe that's why I don't think it's a good disc. But it got boring and repetitive and didn't even sound like the guys from Los Angeles who wanted to have a good time anymore.

Now for Disc 4, you may be thinking, "OK, time for Generation Swine. Let's get to it!" Guess what? NOT HERE! Instead, we get the
Quarternary E.P. which, as the name suggests, makes no sense and once you hear it, you wish you didn't. Tommy Lee basically says "bye" with a track that could easily have been for his terrible "Methods of Mayhem" project, and the entire thing is just spit-takes of the Crue having fun. Toss in the god-awfully pointless remixes of "Hooligan's Holiday", and really, your pissed.

At this point, if your a dedicated Crue fan, or even someone who had all their albums and thought this would be a good buy, your pissed you just spent about $100 - $120 to buy both Volumes and got 90 - 99% of all the material already. And even what you didn't have didn't seem all that great.

But if your still new to the Crue, or just wanted to understand how and why this group sold so many albums, made history, and why their last album, "Saints of Los Angeles", is doing so well, this is why.

In closing, I think your better off buying the albums than buying these box sets. The individual albums have so much going for them and are a lot of fun (packaging and all), it's a better time than the leather box. When you get to Volume 2, though, that's a different story. Disc 2 is, to me, worth the price of admission, and getting the "Motley Crue" album may be worth it for anyone looking to see how the Crue re-branded itself after Vince Neil left.

Or, in other words:

Buying these albums separately new on Amazon.com (The first 5): $100
Buying these box sets together new: $120
Rediscovering your love of 80's Hair and Glam Metal: Priceless

I've given you all the info I can, it really is going to boil down to you in the end this time. Myself? I may sell my copies, at least the first Volume since I don't need it at all. But Volume 2 may stay a little longer....

5 out of 10. The first Volume is all killer, no filler, but if you already own them, let it go. The second is more filler, less killer, but more interesting if you ignored anything by the Crue in the 90's.