Criminally Overlooked And Underrated Albums :
Artist : Motley Crüe
Album : Motley Crüe (Self Titled)
Released : March 7, 1994
Metal Mofo Album Rating : 4.5/5 (One Of The Most Underrated Albums Of The 1990s)
When I write stories about “music albums” I usually talk about “landmark, or classic albums” that either changed the musical landscape, or continues to influence what music is or has become. Throughout music history, there have been excellent records that have hardly sold, and also records that have sold in the millions with no substance. Then there are other examples of records that seem to be “doomed to fail” no matter how good they are or how they are promoted. This can be due to many different circumstances. The music climate may have changed, or maybe a band or musician changes musical styles. Or worst of all, a band loses a key or legendary member, and replaced that member with someone unknown, or completely different.
In 1994, the band Motley Crüe would release an album that would have to deal with all of the issues I talked about in the last paragraph. By 1994, Motley Crüe had been away from the music scene for over three years. The music that made them famous was now considered obsolete. No bands from the 1980s (with the exception of Guns N’ Roses and Metallica) were selling many albums or being promoted anymore on MTV. The emergence of bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice In Chains, etc where considered mainstream now. They were also dealing with the loss of their lead singer Vince Neil who was fired or quit (depending on who you ask). The band was hoping they could follow in the footsteps of AC/DC, Van Halen, and Genesis, who had all replaced legendary frontmen with new lead singers, and were able to continue without missing a step. They also had to deal with a very upset record company, who had given them a new 25 million dollar deal, not knowing that Vince was leaving the band.
After the release of the legendary album “Dr. Feelgood” Motley Crüe was in top of the world. It was their most successful album commercially and also finally impressed many critics who dismissed them before. Following the world tour, Nikki Sixx pushed the band back into the studio to record a follow-up to keep the momentum going. This would turn out to be a mistake. Each member was exhausted, especially lead singer Vince Neil who just didn’t have the mindset to continue. During these sessions Vince would arrive late or not at all. Other singers like Sebastian Bach, and Steve Perry would jam with the band, and they began to toy with the thought of a new singer. This happened at the “worst” time however, because of their new multi-million dollar contract they had just received. Finally the band was fed up with Vince. They all had a huge argument and Vince was fired by Nikki Sixx. Actually Nikki already had a replacement in mind. One of his favorite albums at the time was from a band called “The Scream”, who’s lead singer was a guy named John Corabi. John came and auditioned and got the gig. It was surprising since Corabi sounded more like Chris Cornell of Soundgarden than anything like Vince Neil.
The band now had their hands tied. They knew this new record wasn’t going to sound anything like a Motley Crüe album, but they couldn’t go by another band’s name because of their huge contract. When the record company found out about the change they were obviously furious. And tried to get out of the new contract. Once the record was released it flopped after a few months. The band had to admit their mistake and bring Vince back a couple of years later. In 1994 this was the wrong album for Motley Crue. But now in 2017 as the years have passed it has started to gain some respect, and has actually aged pretty well. It’s definitely the hardest and loudest album “The Crüe” ever made. And is the best record of all the post “Dr Feelgood” albums. It’s really not a bad album at all. Give it a chance, you may be surprised.
It’s obvious that John Corabi is very proud of the record to this day. He even plans to release a solo live package this year of doing the record in its entirety. Nikki Sixx however who was praising the record up until this past year made surprising comments that he now doesn’t feel the record is very good, or that Corabi can write lyrics. That being said one thing is obvious. The record has a whole new reputation as being one of the best hard rock/metal records of the 1990s that wasn’t given a fair shot. I personally couldn’t agree more.
All songs written by John Corabi, Nikki Sixx, Mick Mars and Tommy Lee, except where noted.
All lyrics written by Corabi and Sixx
“Power to the Music” – 5:12
“Uncle Jack” – 5:28
“Hooligan’s Holiday” – 5:51
“Misunderstood” – 6:53
“Loveshine” – 2:36
“Poison Apples” (Corabi, Sixx, Mars, Lee, Bob Rock) – 3:40
“Hammered” – 5:15
“Til Death Do Us Part” – 6:03
“Welcome to the Numb” – 5:18
“Smoke the Sky” – 3:36
“Droppin’ Like Flies” – 6:26
“Driftaway” – 4:00