Mötley Crüe: He’s the one they call Dr. Feelgood
Mötley Crüe were at their peak when they recorded and released Dr. Feelgood, and the legacy behind Dr. Feelgood remains enormous.
Phantom Cosmonaut sez:
Released in 1989, Dr. Feelgood was Mötley Crüe’s first number one album, as well as their most accomplished album (according to most.) While I prefer Shout at the Devil over Dr. Feelgood, there is no denying that Dr. Feelgood is a Trashy-Rock ‘N’ Roll Masterpiece. At the producers helm was that Canadian producer who apparently ruined Metallica, one Bob Rock. (It is rumored that Metallica sought out Rock after hearing his fantastically bombastic production work on Dr. Feelgood. )
So, say what you will about Mötley Crüe, however you simply cannot deny the bands enormous staying power over the years. Mötley Crüe have never resorted to pseudo-serious artistic statements that prove recipes for disaster (ahem, Poison!). This is a band in touch with its ever loyal and increasing fan base old and new; they know what the fans want, and it’s to rock! Plus, Mick Mars is possibly the most underrated rock guitarist ever, who still gets out on stage and rocks the house, although he mostly stands still now while doing the rocking. Nikki Sixx has written more hooks over the years than a gigantic tackle box can hold and Tommy Lee is quite possibly rocks most visual drummer; we can almost forgive his rap-rock mishaps, almost, sorry Tommy!
So that leaves us with Vince Neil, the forever blond front man and owner of a gazillion different business ventures. While not in the same league as Gene Simmons, his various business endeavors are still highly respectable. Neil would be considered a horrible vocalist if judged from a technical standpoint, but this is rock ‘n’ roll not Italian Opera. So with that being said Neil’s distinctive vocals and image are a huge part of the Mötley Crüe machine. Plus his finest vocal performance to date is Dr. Feelgood.
So kids, let this be a lesson to you: sobriety can be a good thing.
After a brief instrumental, the album opens with Dr. Feelgood, in which the newly sober Crüe tear right into this thick slab of Rock Candy. Nikki Sixx at this stage in his career decided to write about drug dealers as opposed to buying from them i.e. ‘Dancing on Glass‘ from ‘87s Girls, Girls. Girls. Mick Mars grooves right alongside Tommy Lee’s heavily accented down-beats before breaking into a looser based groove on the ride cymbal. What follows is a tale about Jimmy who rocks a rat tail, has a pretty sweet ride, and has friends in the Mexican Mob. Dr. Feelgood is one of many examples of Mick Mars incendiary riff-composition.
Man, that Rock guy sure kicked these bad boys into overdrive on this all killer, no filler album of Rock ‘N’ Roll decadence, this time the decadence being Diet Coke and presumably Sushi.
Next up is ‘Slice of your Pie,’ and I will slap the taste out of anyone’s mouth who considers this song Filler. Opening with a swampy acoustic meets Southern Delta slide guitar which breaks into a strip-club worthy shimmy-shimmy shake; Axl eat your heart out. Anyone looking for deeply hidden philosophical meaning within the 4 plus minutes in which ‘SOYP‘ runs, truly is missing the point.
We continue the sleaze, with ‘Rattlesnake Shake,’ another stripper anthem; really mostly all of songs are all stripper anthems on Dr. Feelgood. Well, like the title suggests, ‘Rattlesnake Shake,’ shuffles and shakes right along.
Next up is ‘Kickstart My Heart,’ technically ‘KMH’ proves to be a defibrillator in audio form, a jolt of adrenaline straight into the eardrum. The video for ‘Kickstart My Heart’ was all out high-octane funny-car sky diving madness – that was a huge MTV Hit. Powered by awesomely bad-ass Mick Mars riff, some quality snare drum work courtesy of Tommy, and a great vocal turn from Vince, ‘Kickstart My Heart’ will forever remain a classic. As I said prior, Nikki Sixx decided to write about the dangers of drugs and drug dealers, as opposed to buying them. Sixx wrote this about his recent death by an OD, back in ’87.
So Drugs=Bad. Sobriety=Good.
With ‘Without You,’ we have our first Ballad. I guess even Bad Boys can get broken hearts, and there is a lot of heart within this late ’80s wonder. To be honest, all the young dudes that slagged this song were jealous anyways, as they would never look as good in makeup.
So out with the handkerchiefs and in with the Arena Rock, next we have ‘Same Ol’ Situation,’ which is about relationships…well, sort of. Really it’s about that ol’ Ball and Chain that often finds it’s self attached to some unfortunate victim of that green monster. Regardless ‘SOS’ is catchier than a tuna boat docked on the shores of Hanoi.
Next up is ‘Sticky Sweet.’ (Insert 9th straight Stripper Anthem here)
So, generally it is in bad taste to include two ballads on an album. Generally the tasteful thing to do is have a straight Ballad I.E. ‘Without You,’ then slowly raise your hands to rock and throw in a Power Ballad which we find with ‘Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)’ which is presumably about kicking that ole’ Ball and Chain from ‘Same Ole’ Situation’ to the curb. In all seriousness ‘DGAM(JGA)’ is a great upbeat Power Ballad, that still gets a ton of FM radio play to this day.
Well, some musical missteps can be forgiven. With that being said The Crüe ends Dr. Feelgood with another ballad. ‘Time for Change’ is about as serious as Nikki Sixx got during the ‘80s. ‘Time for Change’ is about that, Change. I am guessing Nikki Sixx’s goal was to compose a send off to the decadence and the greed that was the de-facto rigor during the 1980s.
Every iconic act has that one album; Metallica have their Self-Tiled album AKA The Black album, Aerosmith has Pump, Def Leppard has Hysteria, etc. These are blockbuster albums that are forever criticized for being too main stream, too poppy, too huge, etc. It can be said that while these albums might or might not be the best in a bands catalog, they are undeniably huge for a reason. Whether it be that the stars aligned at the right moment, or maybe it’s as simple as being in the right place at the right time, there is no denying the influence of said Classic Albums.
When I get high, I get high on speed/top fuel funny car’s a drug for me ~ Kickstart My Heart