Sunday, June 21, 2015

Mötley Crüe - Theatre of Pain

Today (June 21st) marks the thirtieth anniversary of Theatre of Pain, the third studio album from Mötley Crüe. This multi-Platinum seller went to number 44 in Germany, number 39 in Australia, number 36 in the UK, number 25 in Switzerland, number 11 in Canada, number 7 in Sweden and number 6 on the US Billboard Album chart. it spent a total of seventy-two weeks on the latter chart. The album is dedicated to Nicholas "Razzle" Dingley of Hanoi Rocks who was killed in a car crash that also saw Vince Neil's arrest for manslaughter on a drunk driving charge.

Side one begins with "City Boy Blues", a down-and-dirty rocker that bemoans life in urban Los Angeles.

The cover of Brownsville Station's 1973 hit "Smokin' in the Boys Room" is next. This is a tune that so many garage bands would mess around with, so it is no surprise that these guys had as well and decided they liked the song enough to include it on their album. As the lead single, it peaked at number 71 in the UK, number 19 in Canada, number 16 on the US Billboard Hot 100, and number 7 on the US Billboard Mainstream Rock chart. One of the nice touches is the change of lyrics to call out the Crüe band members. The other obvious tweak is the guitar chord progression on the chorus which is different than the original.

Tommy Lee's drums lay down the thundering foundation for "Louder Than Hell". Here the guys proclaim their love of their music loud.

"Keep Your Eye on the Money" is a cautionary message to gamblers.

The power ballad "Home Sweet Home" was released as the second single in 1986. It stalled at number 89 on the US Billboard Hot 100, number 51 in the UK and number 38 on the US Billboard Mainstream Rock chart. The music video, which showed the band on the road and performing at Reunion Arena in Dallas, Texas, however was a big hit with fans. It topped the MTV daily video request chart for over three months, forcing MTV to create an unwritten "Crüe Rule" that dropped videos from eligibility after thirty days of hitting the survey. I remember quite well that period when this song ruled the daily countdown; I would tune in each day to see who might dethrone them only to find they were still number one. The song, of course, became a slow dance favorite at the clubs during my Junior year of college. My favorite part is the piano opening.

Side two opens with "Tonight (We Need a Lover)", a rousing rocker filled with longing lust.

The rapid-fire "Use It or Lose It" was the B-side to the first single. The lyrics tell about taking advantage of fame while you are still at the top.

"Save Our Souls" takes on a traditional metal theme: salvation. The guys give it a nice slow-grinding rhythm.

"Raise Your Hands to Rock" is an attempt at a chant-along anthem song. It does not completely work for me on that level.

The final track on the original vinyl album is "Fight for Your Rights".

Later CD re-releases of the album have included bonus tracks including demos and the music video version of "Home Sweet Home".

I did not own a copy of Theatre of Pain back in the day, but a number of years back I added a whole bunch of Mötley Crüe albums to my digital library and that of course included this one. Since then, I've listened to it a good half dozen times or so from start to finish. When I am looking for a record to rock out, it will certainly foot the bill nicely. The album cover is one of those classics from the 80's.

Click here for more Mötley Crüe.

1 comment:

HERC said...

Other than the pop metal music I love that the hair bands brought to the table for the most part, the biggest attraction for me was the female fans at the concerts and the girls at Crüe shows were second only to the ladies that Bon Jovi drew. To draw the line broadly, the "good" girls were at Bon Jovi's shows while the "bad" girls were most definitely at the Crüe concerts. The difference between "good" and "bad" is this: at Bon Jovi gigs, the ratio of women to dudes was crazy high and they dressed to tease and impress. At Crüe shows, the opposite sex ratio was much lower as if they didn't dare attend without a chaperone because they dressed wilder and if you stared at them long enough, they would flash you. That was my experience at least.

"Home Sweet Home" brought the house down every single time but the band could summon both the hard and heavy as well as the pop rock, seemingly at will. Many good times associated with the band's concerts and albums.