Music

Mötley Crüe: Generation Swine / Mötley Crüe / New Tattoo

Adam Williams

Mötley Crüe

Generation Swine / Mötley Crüe / New Tattoo

Label: Hip-O
US Release Date: 2003-04-08
UK Release Date: 2003-06-02
Amazon
iTunes

Any hard rocking band that has been in existence for over two decades is sure to have an interesting, if not checkered past that is appropriate fodder for Behind the Music specials. Mötley Crüe is no different, as its 20-plus year career has been punctuated by platinum record sales, drug overdoses, brushes with the law, and a variety of other incidents that epitomize the stereotypical, and excessively decadent rock and roll lifestyle. What makes the Crüe unique in the annals of music lore is that the group's career can be neatly classified into two separate periods, 1) the '80s, and 2) the '90s and beyond, both of which are polar opposites from the other.

The '80s found the Crüe coming into their own as a brash, raucous outfit grounded in glammed out visuals and primitive musical sleaze. Loved or hated, the Mötley ones set themselves apart from other hair/metal band poseurs of the moment by having more sheer balls than all of their counterparts combined. They lived life as close to the edge as possible, crashing and burning with frightening frequency. In the span of roughly seven years the band churned out several memorable (if not sophisticated) albums, successfully cementing its reputation as the preeminent group of musical thugs/kings of debauchery/hard rocking hellions of their generation.

Once the '90s arrived, Mötley Crüe was plagued by internal acrimony and strife, as well as beset by the grunge-induced backlash toward the overall genre of metal. Finding itself to be a band without a cause, Crüe became the embodiment of Spinal Tap with its personnel changes and generally sporadic recorded output. In spite of slumping badly, the group soldiered on into the new millennium looking to capture a bit of its past glory.

As part of the recent spate of reissues hitting the market, Hip-O Records has joined the fracas and chosen to re-release the entire Crüe catalog, with no seeming interest in culling the herd of sub-par material. The newly remastered versions of Mötley Crüe, Generation Swine, and New Tattoo evidence the fact that the '80s were the Crüe's heyday, and the '90s were, well, not a great hair day.

The 1994 effort Mötley Crüe found the band in a distinctly transitional period. Singer Vince Neil had parted ways with his Mötley brethren, to be replaced by relatively unknown John Corabi, and the new album had to compete with musical outputs by "Seattle Sound" bands like Pearl Jam, Nirvana, and Soundgarden. The Corabi experiment turned out to be disastrous as Crüe fans rejected the album hands down; the '90s incarnation of the group looked different, sounded different and obviously was too great a deviation from what fans had grown to love in the previous decade. Having made a career out of raunch rock classics like Girls, Girls, Girls, the band was far out of its league in trying to incorporate grunge into its new aural image. The Crüe Mark II was certainly no Alice in Chains, and Mötley Crüe bears nothing of value musically. Simply stated, it is uninspired and misguided, barely worthy of record shop bargain bin status let alone remastered and re-released treatment.

By 1997, Mötley Crüe was once again whole as Neil returned, (more due to marketing and financial reasons than a genuine desire to be back in the band), and the group brought forth the much anticipated Generation Swine. While the album contained a moderately solid song in "Glitter", it was for the most part a disappointing effort as it seemed that the boys were merely going through the motions. The re-released version includes five bonus tracks and an enhanced CD video, but these extras do little more than extend the mediocrity of the recording.

Enduring yet another line-up change, the Crüe faced the year 2000 with Randy Castillo behind the drum kit, (having taken over for the departed Tommy Lee). The Y2K release of New Tattoo marked a welcome return to the trademark Crüe sound and lyrical lewdness. The band is showcased in fine form from Mick Mars' heavy shredding to Neil's sneering vocals, and though Castillo lacked Lee's drumming bombast, he and bassist Nikki Sixx successfully laid down a rumbling rhythm for much of the album. The songs "Treat Me Like the Dog I Am" and "Porno Star" demonstrate that revisiting the past is sometimes preferred as the CD resonated with a discernibly crude snottiness reminiscent of 1983's vintage Shout at the Devil. It may not have been one of the band's most stellar efforts, but it was still pretty damn good. The remastered version of New Tattoo also includes an enhanced CD video (of the song "Hell on High Heels") in addition to a second disc consisting of six tracks recorded live in Salt Lake City. (Note: By the time this live show was recorded, Crüe had employed the services of Hole drummer Samantha Maloney, as an ailing Castillo was to soon tragically pass away from his illness.) The sound quality on the bonus disc is quite poor, although for Crüe aficionados anything hearkening back to the band's glory days is certainly worthwhile.

The convoluted life and times of Mötley Crüe continue even as the mid-point of 2003 approaches. Vince Neil has appeared on reality TV, Tommy Lee has struggled with a solo career, Nikki Sixx makes and retracts inflammatory comments on a regular basis, and Mick Mars waits quietly in the shadows to see if the persistent rumors of a Mötley reunion come to fruition. Until something dramatic happens however, Crüe fans should feel free to indulge in the re-release of their heroes' catalog material, enjoying much of the classic, while dispensing with most of the contemporary.


Music

Books

Film

Recent
Music

Alright Alright's "Don't Worry" Is an Ode for Unity in Troubling Times (premiere)

Alright Alright's "Don't Worry" is a gentle, prayerful tune that depicts the heart of their upcoming album, Crucible.

Music

Tim Bowness of No-Man Discusses Thematic Ambition Amongst Social Division

With the release of his seventh solo album, Late Night Laments, Tim Bowness explores global tensions and considers how musicians can best foster mutual understanding in times of social unrest.

Music

Angel Olsen Creates a 'Whole New Mess'

No one would call Angel Olsen's Whole New Mess a pretty album. It's much too stark. But there's something riveting about the way Olsen coos to herself that's soft and comforting.

Music

Masma Dream World Go Global and Trippy on "Sundown Forest" (premiere)

Dancer, healer, musician Devi Mambouka shares the trippy "Sundown Forest", which takes listeners deep into the subconscious and onto a healing path.

Music

'What a Fantastic Death Abyss': David Bowie's 'Outside' at 25

David Bowie's Outside signaled the end of him as a slick pop star and his reintroduction as a ragged-edged arty agitator.

Music

Dream Folk's Wolf & Moon Awaken the Senses with "Eyes Closed" (premiere)

Berlin's Wolf & Moon are an indie folk duo with a dream pop streak. "Eyes Closed" highlights this aspect as the act create a deep sense of atmosphere and mood with the most minimal of tools.

Television

Ranking the Seasons of 'The Wire'

Years after its conclusion, The Wire continues to top best-of-TV lists. With each season's unique story arc, each viewer is likely to have favorites.

Film

Paul Reni's Silent Film 'The Man Who Laughs' Is Serious Cinema

There's so much tragedy present, so many skullduggeries afoot, and so many cruel and vindictive characters in attendance that a sad and heartbreaking ending seems to be an obvious given in Paul Reni's silent film, The Man Who Laughs.

Music

The Grahams Tell Their Daughter "Don't Give Your Heart Away" (premiere)

The Grahams' sweet-sounding "Don't Give Your Heart Away" is rooted in struggle, inspired by the couples' complicated journey leading up to their daughter's birth.

Music

Gloom Balloon Deliver an Uplifting Video for "All My Feelings For You" (premiere)

Gloom Balloon's Patrick Tape Fleming considers what making a music video during a pandemic might involve because, well, he made one. Could Fellini come up with this plot twist?

Film

What 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' Gets Right (and Wrong) About America

Telling the tale of the cyclops through the lens of high and low culture, in O'Brother, Where Art Thou? the Coens hammer home a fatalistic criticism about the ways that commerce, violence, and cosmetic Christianity prevail in American society .

Music

Brian Cullman Gets Bluesy with "Someday Miss You" (premiere)

Brian Cullman's "Someday Miss You" taps into American roots music, carries it across the Atlantic and back for a sound that is both of the past and present.

Music

IDLES Have Some Words for Fans and Critics on 'Ultra Mono'

On their new album, Ultra Mono, IDLES tackle both the troubling world around them and the dissenters that want to bring them down.

Music

Napalm Death Return With Their Most Vital Album in Decades

Grindcore institution Napalm Death finally reconcile their experimental side with their ultra-harsh roots on Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism.

Film

NYFF: 'Notturno' Looks Passively at the Chaos in the Middle East

Gianfranco Rosi's expansive documentary, Notturno, is far too remote for its burningly immediate subject matter.

Music

The Avett Brothers Go Back-to-Basics with 'The Third Gleam'

For their latest EP, The Third Gleam, the Avett Brothers leave everything behind but their songs and a couple of acoustic guitars, a bass, and a banjo.

Music

PM Picks Playlist 1: Rett Madison, Folk Devils + More

The first PopMatters Picks Playlist column features searing Americana from Rett Madison, synthpop from Everything and Everybody, the stunning electropop of Jodie Nicholson, the return of post-punk's Folk Devils, and the glammy pop of Baby FuzZ.

Books

David Lazar's 'Celeste Holm  Syndrome' Appreciates Hollywood's Unsung Character Actors

David Lazar's Celeste Holm Syndrome documents how character actor work is about scene-defining, not scene-stealing.


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.