It was 1991, and I was 14 years old. Having picked up Mötley Crüe's amazing 'Dr. Feelgood' on cassette when it was released, I'd also got their compilation 'Decade Of Decadance' (graduating to CD) when it came out; partially as it contained (arguably) all the best tracks that they'd released up until that point, but also because of the awesome, bass-heavy rumble of new song 'Primal Scream'.
There might have been a few throwaway tracks on there, but it was a great introduction to the band. A number of songs immediately stood out, none more so than the electrifying 'Wildside' and sing-along sleaze of 'Girls Girls Girls'. Among the best in the Crüe catalogue, their iconic status was secured by their OTT videos featuring flying drum kits, strippers, and all the glitz and glamour of the Sunset Strip.
The album that these glorious songs came from, 1987's 'Girls Girls Girls', had to be amazing, and so it was that I scraped together my hard-earned cash to purchase it. I was working part-time at a local shop, in my first job stacking shelves, doing four hours a week for the princely wage of £1 an hour. As such, every CD purchase was like placing all your money on a horse, and hoping that you'd backed a winner. Each CD chosen to join my growing collection (of around ten by now) was agonised over; this was an important decision, and I'd now have two by Mötley Crüe. But it was okay; it was going to be so worth it.
Excitedly placing the CD into the tray, tracks one ('Wildside') and two ('Girls Girls Girls') acted like appetisers; I knew them well, but they were setting me up for the whole glam-tastic album experience. It wasn't until track three, 'Dancing On Glass' arrived, that I was in new territory. Okay, this wasn't bad; not as good as the first two, but it had a great title, and it had a cool riff. But it was no 'Kickstart My Heart', or 'Same Ol' Situation', and unfortunately, it was a good as it would get.
Recorded by a band at the height of their drug-fuelled hedonism, it shows. There was the plodding 'Bad Boy Boogie': What, you've dared to nick the title of one of AC/DC's best songs, and you churn this out?! The forgettable, generic ballad ('You're All I Need'), and an anthem-by-numbers ('All In The Name Of...'). Adding a live version of 'Jailhouse Rock' was the final insult; it was as if they had lost interest or run out of ideas before they'd even come to the end of the album.
Essentially, I had paid three weeks' wages for one song ('Dancing On Glass'), and even then it was hardly a classic. I felt short-changed, and much like the album's back cover, like I'd pissed my money up against a wall. I put it back in my rack in bemused disbelief. Listening to that very same copy as I type this, that feeling of astonishment remains.
Other than the lack of actual songs, the main problem with 'Girls Girls Girls' is that the production lets it down. It was missing the oomph of Bob Rock's 1989 work on 'Dr. Feelgood' that was so good that it inspired Metallica to take him on for their all-conquering self-titled 'Black' album. I had, unknowingly been spoiled by those sonics, that had carried on into 'Primal Scream'.
There are those of course, who will disagree, and flicking through an old copy of Classic Rock magazine recently, I was shocked to find the album at the top of the pile in their Buyer's Guide. But my advice is simple; avoid this and get a copy 'Dr. Feelgood' if you want a real tasty slice of da Crüe pie.
Click HERE to read '10 Albums That Didn't Rock My World: #1 AC/DC 'The Razor's Edge'.
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