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Saints of Los Angeles: The Bring Back Glam! Album Review

saintsoflosangelescover.jpgMotley Crue are back with their first album featuring all the original members in over a decade. Saints of Los Angeles (Motley/Eleven Seven Records)  features 13 tracks loosely aligned to the 2001 band autobiography The Dirt and tells the story of Motley's rise (and fall) in the L.A. Glam scene. Track list:




Face Down in the Dirt
What's It Gonna Take
Down at the Whisky
Saints of Los Angeles
Muther Fucker of the Year
The Animal in Me
Welcome to the Machine
Just Another Psycho
Chicks = Trouble
This Ain't a Love Song
White Trash Circus
Goin' Out Swingin'

Saints of Los Angeles (henceforth SOLA) is a mixed bag, but overall the hits outweigh the misses.

The album opens with "L.A.M.F.," a spoken word dialogue courtesy Vince Neil in the same vein as "In the Beginning" from Shout at the Devil. Here the introduction is less than effective and actually falls in the annoying category. Deleting this track would probably make the album stronger.

The first half of the album is fairly strong, chronicling the band's struggle to rise from gutter trash to multi millionaires.  "Face Down in the Dirt" is  decent and "Saints of Los Angeles" is fabulous.  Quite frankly, "Saints of Los Angeles" is in an entirely different league when compared to the rest of the songs the new album. There's something sonically different about this track. The sound is so rich, so strong and so Motley. The guitar work coupled with superior lyrics make "Saints of Los Angeles" one of the best songs in Motley's deep catalog.

"What's It Gonna Take" and  "Down at the Whisky" are fairly weak compared to some of the other songs on SOLA. Next to "Saints of Los Angeles" my favorite new track is "Muther Fucker of the Year." I can't quite explain why I love this song so much, but it probably has something to do with the repetitive chorus or Vince's nasally whine. Whatever the case, I listened to this song about 17 times on repeat. It's true, I can't get enough! I also really dig "Welcome to the Machine,"  "Just Another Psycho" and "This Ain't a Love Song."

While SOLA has some damn strong tracks, there are plenty of stinkers. "Chicks = Trouble" is pretty bad. In fact, it's my least favorite track on SOLA. I listened to the album from start to finish three times before making any real judgements, but after that time I found myself skipping "Chicks = Trouble." The lyrics make me cringe and the actual music is pretty bad too. Also a downer is "White Trash Circus." The lyrics are not as heinous as "Chicks = Trouble" but the track lacks anything special. If there's nothing special about the song, there's no reason to listen.

There's no true ballad here and I think that's a wise move. "The Animal in Me" has a slower tempo and thus provides a natural thematic break between songs.

Is SOLA Motley Crue's best effort? No, but it does have a certain sound quality that is reminiscent of the Dr. Feelgood era. Some of the lyrics on SOLA are just a little strained and that comes out pretty clear. The difference is that this time, Nikki Sixx and company are looking back on history instead of writing in the moment. History and memories change our perception. Struggling financially at the time is pretty tough but can seem a little romantic after a certain level of success is achieved. I suspect Nikki looked back on his early Sunset Strip days with a hazy fondness and wrote what came to his mind which of course is sex, drugs and rock n' roll.

The downlow? Buy this album. Even with a couple bad tracks, it's a strong effort from a classic Glam band.





Reader Comments (28)

i agree and disagree with your review. i only find 2 good songs on the cd. the intro is horris, vince is annoying. and i think it's track 3 where the viewpoint is if it's 1982 and the band hasn't made it, sort of like how poor they are, etc. i just don't buy that from a group that has as much money, fame, etc as they do. it jsut doesn't ring true. the following song however talks about the old days in the past tense, remembering how things were. i think that was a much better route to take. overall this was very disapointing and no i will not be buying it. a co-worker made me a copy and that copy is going in file 86. i just have no desire to listen to this again. i felt like sola is the only track that sounds like the old crue sound. i'm sure the majority of people will disagree but that's the way it goes. what can i say, i'm weird that way. if you like it though enjoy and have fun, i'm just one guy.
June 24, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterdon
and yes allyson i agree, chicks = trouble is really bad. it was just a bad idea to do a song from that thing nikki did in his book about chicks = trouble. it's like he was trying to cash in on that. my co-worker is a huge crue fan and he said he was disapointed in it.
June 24, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterdon
Don, you crack me up, everything you say is negative, ALWAYS. Form your own band so we can criticize you. Thanks!
June 24, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterFrank
The best tracks of the album for me are :

Saints of Los Angeles
Just another Psycho
White Trash Circus (I do like this track a lot ).
Face down in the Dirt

Those tracks I consider outstanding, good Motley Crue style with lots of energy

Down at the Whisky is quite good and the more I listen the more I like it.

The rest, nothing special.

All in all I would say is an album with strong energy,and we all should be happy the Crue are back to rock the World !!.

June 24, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterXavier
"i think it's track 3 where the viewpoint is if it's 1982 and the band hasn't made it, sort of like how poor they are, etc. i just don't buy that from a group that has as much money, fame, etc as they do"

Surely that's precisely the point? 1982 is not 1989 or 2008 - I feel that is an important distinction to make before questioning the guys' integrity.. You can't criticise an autobiographical album for describing the past, that's just plain ludicrous.
June 24, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterPat
Allyson, Do you not remember the lyrics to "kickstart my heart"? "Skydive naked From an aeroplane Or a lady with a Body from outerspace" Shitty lyrics have never stopped motley songs from being hits. My review:

LAMF - A cool piece of sleaze poetry that introduces the album nicely.

Face down in the dirt - THIS SONG ROCKS! (however, Vince's range, or lack there of, is a bit detrimental)

What's it gonna take - I agree with Allyson...this song doesn't exactly ring true coming from this band at this stage of their carreer.

Down at the Whiskey - This song would be a major hit if it were 1990 again....great melody, great hook, I cant not bob my motley loving head to this one.

SOLA - What sets this song apart from the rest of the album is the backing vocals on the chorus, courtesy of Jacoby Shaddix, Josh Todd, et all....It sounds like a stadium full of people singing on key in perfect time...Marvelous.

Motherfucker of the year - This song blows. Period.

The animal in me - Pretty good mid-tempo track. I like the breakdown towards the end where it's just Vince's vocals over the rhythm section...could provide a cool video moment, IF it were 1990 again.

Welcome to the machine - Great fast paced rock song. Not single material, but good filler.

Just another psycho - A great piece of sleaze...This is the song my 6 year old son thinks is the best on the album, and he knows his crue...

Chicks = Trouble - This song could be a hit, again, lyrics be damned. It has a memorable hook, a great melody, and a marketable theme.

This Ain't a Love Song - Probably the worst song on the album.

White Trash Circus - Pretty weak, probably could have been left off the album. I'm glad they didn't close the album with this.

Goin' Out Swingin' - This is a rippin song that is the perfect end to a very good leaves you feeling generally upbeat and positive about the record as a whole.

Verdict: Buy this album now if you are a crue fan...purists (people who think the band died after shout at the devil) will not like it, but if you like feelgood, you will love this.
June 24, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterTroy
I think the cd is pretty good, especially compared to most glam bands' recent efforts.

LAMF, Welcome to the Machine, Chicks = Trouble, This Ain't a Love Song, and Goin' Out Swingin' are the low points, in my opinion.

My favorites are What's It Gonna Take, Down at the Whisky, and White Trash Circus.
June 24, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMakel
good review but I disagree with a couple points. First, I don't hear much filler at all and Down at the Whiskey is a killer song! I also wish people would stop hating on Chicks=Trouble, that's just a classic Crue vibe & subject matter that we love about them! all the talk about the lyrics on this album not being groundbreaking are funny too. This is Motley Crue and Sixx has always been a cool lyric writer but he's never been confused with Bob Dylan! if the lyrics to C=T make you cringe Allyson, how did you sit through the Shakespeare qualities of She Goes Down,Bad Boy Boogie or Slice of your Pie!
June 24, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterlajustice77
you are so wrong frank. look back at some of my posts. what i choose to do is express my opinion. if i think something is crap i say it. if i think it's good i say it. i was actually hoping that the new crue would sound like the title track but it doesn't. maybe i'll post some of my lyrics on here so you can slag me but since i'm not a professional don't hold your breath.

and pat, sorry if you think it's ludicris for me to feel that writing a song about how poor and hungry you are and that your band hasn't made it when in fact your band made it 2 decades ago and is not poor or hungry doesn't work....for me. i clearly stated that it was my viewpoint and that the following song that was remembering the old days was much better. as troy also said "what's it gonna take" doesn't ring true at this stage of their career. "Down at the whisky" comes at the topic in a different way by saying "remember when?" for me that works.

perhaps i should try to make everybody happy and just go along with what everyone else thinks. it's not gonna happpen of course, i'vd got to true to myself. sorry if you don't like it but oh well. that's teh way things go.
June 24, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterdon
I personally love the album. The one and only track that I don't care for is "What's It Gonna Take". But other than that, I'd say it's a strong return for the Crue.
June 24, 2008 | Unregistered CommenteraXe mAn
Axe Man..WHATS UP?!!!!!!!!!...HAHAHA!!!!...I am with you..I LOVE IT!!!!!!!...Mick kicks soooo much ass on this..Hope you are doing great..CRUE!!!!!...CRUE!!!...CRUE!!!!! \m/ \m/
June 24, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJoe
I like the lyrics to "What's it gonna take" How they took the music the streets, etc etc..That rocks =)
June 24, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJoe

The whole punk vibe of the album doesn't 'ring true' for any middle-aged, millionaire rock stars - but that doesn't make it necessarily wrong to write about it. Moreover, are Motley's Rock n' Roll excesses now so far in the past that they have no right to base music around them?

My main point though is that the album is a story. I have no problem with anyone taking issue with that concept, but it is traditional for stories to start at the beginning. Motley is no different from any band in that one chapter of their story involves the struggles of trying to make it. Therefore, in the context of a biographical album this becomes a valid basis for a song.

Every track could be written in the past tense, but that would be boring. It's a story, but it's also Rock n' Roll; it wouldn't be rock n' roll if every track had to include lyrics equivalent to "In my day..."

June 24, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterPat
The more i listen to it the more i love it!
The only song i don't care (but it still rocks) is Welcome To The Machine and maybe What's It Gonna Take!

The rest are amazing
One of the Crue's Best albums EVER!
June 24, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMotleyCrue666
I pretty ,much agree with Troy. The album is solid and a must-buy but a few of the tracks are horrid. I just think that maybe all of our expectations were too high perhaps. But yeah, the Sixx A.M. record is overall better..
June 24, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKenny Ozz
i personnally love this album the best songs are Whats it Gonna Take, Down At The Whisky, SOLA, Mutherfucker Of The Year, The Animal In Me, Just Another Psycho, Chicks=Trouble, White Trash Circus, and Goin' Out Swingin'

the thing about the lyrics not bein good is crap. im a big crüe fan and the lyrics have never been fantastic. tell me if you think this is good

"Skydive naked From an aeroplane Or a lady with a Body from outerspace" Kickstart My Heart what does a lady with a body from outer space have to do with the song
June 24, 2008 | Unregistered Commentercrüe düde
My favorite tracks:

Face Down in the Dirt
Down at the Whisky
Saints of Los Angeles
Goin' Out Swingin'

The more I listen, the more I like the rest of the disc. I think it's one of those that will grow on me more over time. However, those 4 songs above are the ones that hit me in the face the first time I heard them.
June 24, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJT
On first listen...I love it. White Trash Circus sounds a little too much like Marilyn Manson's "The Beautiful People" though. I need to listen to it for a few more days to make an informed decision.

And fyi...The Animal in Me is about Kat Von D. ugh!!
June 24, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterVicky
nothing is horrid or lame about this album! the Crue are back and kicking ass, all the 80's rock/metal fans want their favorite bands to deliver new quality music and the Crue does and some people can only bitch! if you're looking for a pathetic "comeback" look at Poison's Hollyweird!
June 25, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterlajustice77
I will be reviewing this soon at Heavy Metal Addiction but my quick take on it after 6 spins is that it is hit and miss. Half the songs are good, half the songs are filler. I'm hoping that more spins will make the filler part of the album grow on me.

Heavy Metal Addiction

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