Music

Mötley Crüe: Saints of Los Angeles

Older, wiser, but just as Mötley as ever.


Mötley Crüe

Saints of Los Angeles

Label: Eleven Seven Music
UK Release Date: 2008-06-30
US Release Date: 2008-06-24
Amazon
Amazon
iTunes

Mötley Crüe fans are a tough lot to satisfy. Give ’em a reunion tour with all four original members, and they want it to go on forever. Serve up a new song, and they want an entire album. After the commercial landslide of the Red, White & Crüe/Carnival of Sins global jaunt from 2005-2006, it seemed like all was well in Crüeville. But soon the rumbling started amongst the faithful. The Red, White & Crüe compilation’s two fresh tracks and cover version weren’t nearly enough to satisfy fans’ insatiable Crüe cravings.

Unlike the loyalists in the KISS Army, the Crüe contingent grew restless with a lengthy tour comprised exclusively of greatest hits. It was quickly forgotten that their band was one of the few left intact after nearly three decades of decadence, and still capable of selling out Madison Square Garden as the real Mötley Crüe. Gene and Paul draw crowds, but with fake Ace and fake Peter in tow. And forget Eddie and David Lee, they summarily replaced Michael Anthony with VH the Younger for their recent “reunion” tour.

Given all this, Mötley fans should rejoice for what they have, and not yearn for they what don’t. But the clamoring persisted for new Crüe, with no sign of stopping. And to the chagrin of many, hopes for a new album were apparently dashed last year when Crüe bassist Nikki Sixx indulged his creative side with the impressive Sixx AM side project. But that Sixx is a crafty one, and between his music and business ventures, he found time to write an entire Mötley Crüe album, the down and dirty Saints of Los Angeles.

If anyone thought the Crüe would go quietly into middle age, they’ll quickly find they were sadly mistaken. Saints of Los Angeles is a thudding blast from the past, with all the crushing rhythms, guitar hooks, and lyrical wind-ups that made the band great. Crafted as a quasi-autobiographical song cycle, the album charts the band’s early rise to prominence in and around the City of Angels. From start to finish, it’s a ride on the wild side, reminiscent of Mötley Crüe’s finest recorded efforts from 20 years past. Opening with “L.A.M.F.”, a rough bit of dialogue that sets the tempo, the Saints come marching in with the explosive “Face Down in the Dirt”. Listen closely, and you might recognize the riff as the foundation to Ted Nugent’s classic “Wango Tango”.

From there, the Mötley magic is generously spread over the remaining 11 tracks. Gritty and visceral, listeners get a sense of the travails the hungry young scrappers endured in the quest for stardom. In the Crüe’s case, “LA girls they paid the rent / While we got drunk on Sunset Strip / And all the cash they made we spent / On tattoos and cigarettes / We were born to fight / And we were getting high / Livin' out our dreams down at the Whisky”. Not a bad gig, if you can survive hand-to-mouth with the odds for success stacked against you.

In between recounting his band’s challenging early days, Sixx injects some wry humor into the set list. “Chicks = Trouble” is a hilariously terse chronicle of having a trophy wife and the pratfalls of matrimonial materialism. Yet as sharp as Sixx’s writing is, and how praiseworthy his creative efforts are, it would be a criminal oversight not to acknowledge the two-headed secret weapon he employed for seeing Saints of Los Angeles to fruition. Sixx’s collaborative partners, James Michael and DJ Ashba, contributed mightily to the album’s writing and production. Viewing the trio’s incarnation as Sixx AM as a comparative barometer, it’s no surprise that the sheen from that side project should find its way onto the new Crüe pressing. It is the threesome’s relationship as artistic equals that has generated results, as Sixx no longer finds himself as the lone lyrical meal ticket. How long he can perform double duty with Mötley Crüe and Sixx AM is yet to be determined, but there is a sense that the album’s closing track, “Goin’ Out Swingin’”, might hint at Mötley’s victory lap, with the Sixx/Michael/Ashba entity waiting in the wings to ascend the throne.

Whatever the future holds for Mötley Crüe proper, Saints of Los Angeles is the band’s first album together since 1997’s Generation Swine, and a far superior effort at that. For the band’s salivating fan base, having new tunes (and a support tour) from Sixx, Neil, Lee, and Mars should keep spirits up for some time, with the added benefit of knowing that their heroes are still alive, and still kickstarting their hearts.

7


Music


Books


Film


Television


Recent
Film

Greta Gerwig's Adaptation of Loneliness in Louisa May Alcott's 'Little Women'

Greta Gerwig's film adaptation of Louisa May Alcott's classic novel Little Women strays from the dominating theme of existential loneliness.

Music

The Band's Discontented Third LP, 1970's 'Stage Fright', Represented a World Braving Calamity

Released 50 years ago this month, the Band's Stage Fright remains a marker of cultural unrest not yet remedied.

Music

Natalie Schlabs Starts Living the Lifetime Dream With "That Early Love" (premiere + interview)

Unleashing the power of love with a new single and music video premiere, Natalie Schlabs is hoping to spread the word while letting her striking voice be heard ahead of Don't Look Too Close, the full-length album she will release in October.

Music

Rufus Wainwright Makes a Welcome Return to Pop with 'Unfollow the Rules'

Rufus Wainwright has done Judy Garland, Shakespeare, and opera, so now it's time for Rufus to rediscover Rufus on Unfollow the Rules.

Music

Jazz's Denny Zeitlin and Trio Get Adventurous on 'Live at Mezzrow'

West Coast pianist Denny Zeitlin creates a classic and adventurous live set with his long-standing trio featuring Buster Williams and Matt Wilson on Live at Mezzrow.

Film

The Inescapable Violence in Netflix's I'm No Longer Here (Ya no estoy aqui)

Fernando Frías de la Parra's I'm No Longer Here (Ya no estoy aqui) is part of a growing body of Latin American social realist films that show how creativity can serve a means of survival in tough circumstances.

Music

Arlo McKinley's Confessional Country/Folk Is Superb on 'Die Midwestern'

Country/folk singer-songwriter Arlo McKinley's debut Die Midwestern marries painful honesty with solid melodies and strong arrangements.

Music

Viserra Combine Guitar Heroics and Female Vocals on 'Siren Star'

If you ever thought 2000s hard rock needed more guitar leads and solos, Viserra have you covered with Siren Star.

Music

Ryan Hamilton & The Harlequin Ghosts Honor Their Favorite Songs With "Oh No" (premiere)

Ryan Hamilton's "Oh No" features guest vocals from Kay Hanley of Letters to Cleo, and appears on Nowhere to Go But Everywhere out 18 September.

Music

Songwriter Shelly Peiken Revisits "Bitch" for '2.0' Album (premiere)

A monster hit for Meredith Brooks in the late 1990s, "Bitch" gets a new lease on life from its co-creator, Shelly Peiken. "It's a bit moodier than the original but it touts the same universal message," she says.

Music

Leila Sunier Delivers Stunning Preface to New EP via "Sober/Without" (premiere)

With influences ranging from Angel Olsen to Joni Mitchell and Perfume Genius, Leila Sunier demonstrates her compositional prowess on the new single, "Sober/Without".

Music

Speed the Plough Members Team with Mayssa Jallad for "Rush Hour" (premiere)

Caught in a pandemic, Speed the Plough's Baumgartners turned to a faraway musical friend for a collaboration on "Rush Hour" that speaks to the strife and circumstance of our time.

Music

Great Peacock Stares Down Mortality With "High Wind" (premiere + interview)

Southern rock's Great Peacock offer up a tune that vocalist Andrew Nelson says encompasses their upcoming LP's themes. "You are going to die one day. You can't stop the negative things life throws at you from happening. But, you can make the most of it."

Music

The 80 Best Albums of 2015

Travel back five years ago when the release calendar was rife with stellar albums. 2015 offered such an embarrassment of musical riches, that we selected 80 albums as best of the year.

Film

Buridan's Ass and the Problem of Free Will in John Sturges' 'The Great Escape'

Escape in John Sturge's The Great Escape is a tactical mission, a way to remain in the war despite having been taken out of it. Free Will is complicated.

Books

The Redemption of Elton John's 'Blue Moves'

Once reviled as bloated and pretentious, Elton John's 1976 album Blue Moves, is one of his masterpieces, argues author Matthew Restall in the latest installment of the 33 1/3 series.

Music

Whitney Take a Master Class on 'Candid'

Although covers albums are usually signs of trouble, Whitney's Candid is a surprisingly inspired release, with a song selection that's eclectic and often obscure.

Music

King Buzzo Continues His Reign with 'Gift of Sacrifice'

King Buzzo's collaboration with Mr. Bungle/Fantômas bassist Trevor Dunn expands the sound of Buzz Osborne's solo oeuvre on Gift of Sacrifice.

Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews

Features
Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.