REVIEW: Motley Crue – Theater Of Pain (remastered, bonus tracks)

 
MOTLEY CRUE – Theater Of Pain (1985, 2003 Motley Records remastered edition)
Crue’s third was a mess, a smokey muddy mess of an album that served only to confuse and disappoint those who were enthralled with Shout at the Devil. The Crue, now wearing ridiculous striped (stryped?) jester suits had dropped the chromium metallic sheen of Shout, and replaced it with nothing but a notable lack of direction.
Theatre of Pain was one of the most anticipated albums of the ’85, and one of the most biggest disappointments. Yes, “Smokin’ In The Boys Room” is a fun jokey novelty, but it is also a novelty cover. “Home Sweet Home”, billed by the band as their “Dream On”, is not really. Broken down, it is a cliche-ridden proto-ballad, the type of thing that every L.A. band has done at least once. And usually, better.  I mean, think about it — you can name better ballads by Bon Jovi or Cinderalla, can’t you?  I can.
There is precious little metal on this album, the terrible “Use It or Lose It” being the only foot on the gas pedal, but itself also being nothing more than a grade C song worthy of most bands’ album outtakes. There is absolutely nothing on this album that would have made the cut on the great Shout at the Devil. Even a track like “Louder Than Hell”, one of the better songs, was demoed for Shout and dropped; the band obviously lowered their standards.
The mix is muddy, an alcoholidaze of robotic drumming and lifeless, uninspired vocals. You can hear the wasted band barely trying. Or, rather, trying as hard as they were capable given the chemicals. If a major band released this today as the followup to a beloved classic, it would be a career-ender. Not so with the Crue, as the 80’s were much kinder.
Bonus tracks on the remastered edition are laughable. Did we really need three versions of “Home Sweet Home”? The vaults must be a lonely place indeed. Tommy’s sleepy “drum piece” is worthy only of the skip button.No standout songs, terrible mix, and dull performances aside, the one guy who swims to the top is  Mick Mars, who plays several solos that rise above.
1.5/5 stars
1. City Boy Blues
2. Smokin’ in the Boys’ Room
3. Louder Than Hell
4. Keep Your Eye on the Money
5. Home Sweet Home
6. Tonight (We Need a Lover)
7. Use It or Lose It
8. Save Our Souls
9. Raise Your Hands to Rock
10. Fight for Your Rights
11. Home Sweet Home [Demo Version]
12. Smokin’ in the Boys’ Room [Alternate Guitar Solo-Rough Mix
13. City Boy Blues [Demo Version]
14. Home Sweet Home [Instrumental Rough Mix]
15. Keep Your Eye on the Money [Demo Version]
16. Tommy drum piece from Cherokee Studios
CD-ROM. Home Sweet Home [Video – Bonus Track]
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33 comments

  1. Not sure how much controversy you’ll stir up, Dude. I mean, Motley is Motley, but if they made an album that sucked (to your ears), I imagine most fans would agree with your knowledge and prowess, and admit that they, too, skip it when choosing which record from the discography to play. Still, let the comments come in and we’ll see!

    I don’t think I’ve ever heard this record all the way through. I had a buddy who was a big Motley fan, and I heard a ton of it at his place, but did I hear the whole album? Maybe I did? I wouldn’t know.

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      1. Amazon reviewers never like negative reviews do they? If you’re negative about an album they vote you “unhelpful”. Why would a well informed negative review be less helpful than a positive review? It doesn’t make sense.

        I don’t think you’re being controversial here either. I love Motley and this album is one of their worst. There were better albums before and after. It’s great you mentioned Mick Mars, his solo on Home Sweet Home is the best thing about it.

        LOL at “The vaults must be a lonely place indeed”

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        1. Well, those are probably true observations. I’m just dying for someone to strongly disagree with one of my reviews here. We all agree too much! Hah.

          I tend to praise a lot of underdog albums, like Slang for example, or the self-titled Crue. But then people just come out of the woodwork who say, “I love that album too!” I found that a lot with that self-titled Crue in particular. That album has a lot of admirers.

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        2. Well I’m all about 80s KISS! Haha, I thought you were a bit harsh on Crazy Nights and Animalize but… hey ho ;) everyone’s different!

          I do like the underdog albums too… The Motley Crue album is great. I’ll draw the line at Blaze-era Maiden though and Ripper-era Priest though.

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        3. Oh man! You should have got some arguments going on those two! Ahh well, we are all beyond the point where we need to be constantly polite. You can call “bullshit!” any time.

          Maybe I should post my review of Maiden’s X Factor. I wanted to save that for a potential run of all-Maiden reviews, but I think I rated it 4 or 5 stars. I like that album quite a bit. It clicked with me for whatever reason. Although I am aware of, and can hear the flaws (like too many ballads for example)…I still like the flaws.

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        4. I really wanted to like X-Factor. I liked Blaze and i liked Man on the Edge but I just thought the whole thing was too ponderous. A few good tracks but way too many ballads and bass intros. That said, I’ve not listened to it much since. I thought the follow-up was much worse.

          The thing with 80s KISS is that a lot of people say they just sounded like the other 80s bands and not as good. I first heard them when Crazy Nights came out and for me they definitely stood out. I was like “Whoa who are these guys?” when I saw the videos. It’s funny how timing and context alters your perception. And they definitely won new fans over here in the UK at that time. That stuff was a big hit over here.

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        5. We’re on the same page with X Factor and Virtual XI…just the opposite sides of the page. I can’t wait to get into the Maiden reviews! But again I always have a bias. Both those two albums were constant companions during very memorable times.

          I remember once I scolded a woman for returning The X Factor. I actually said “Shame on you!” to her.

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        6. Bring on the reviews then, can’t wait! I’m always prepared to change my mind about albums but I think you’ll have an uphill struggle with me where those two are concerned! To be honest, I’ve hardly listened to Virtual XI so it would be interesting to revisit that one.

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        7. Did you ever have Goldeneye for N64? I clearly remember an awesome night in my first apartment, playing Virtual XI and blasting Russians in the “park” scene. That memory is so deeply engrained that I cannot separate it from Virtual XI, and I think that’s why I like it as much as I do.

          However I think Angel and the Gambler is one of their worst songs ever, let alone single.

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        8. I do remember! Only played it with friends but that was a great game. That sort of experience does make a huge difference though! I’m fairly sure that when I bought Virtual XI that I just wasn’t in the mood for it at all.

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        9. Nah I never saw them at that point. I’ve saw some woeful footage on youtube but that’s about it. They did play the Barrowlands here which might have been a fun show as it’s a great venue. But the fact that they were reduced to playing there was a sign how poorly they were doing.

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        10. That’s a couple of box sets I wished I’d picked up (especially the Fish one). The first time I saw Marillion was in there on the Marbles tour! Awesome show.

          It’s a great venue but hardly used now. Nice and dingy, brilliant sound and the dancefloor is actually sprung so it’s great for jumping around!

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  2. I liked the cover man….but ummm yeah clunky ratty production…..the songs Well looking back I could say 7 of them are good not great…..Keep Your Eye On The Money was the closest thing to what I consider to be a great track but the song as far as I’m concerned dies after the second chorus …..
    Put it this way….
    My fav couple of Crüe albums….
    1-Too Fast
    2-Mötley Corabi
    3-Feelgood…more for the sonics/production and the tour that I saw…..

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  3. Girls I just found that once again lacked Production…but yeah Wildside,Sumthin for Nuthin..good tracks…..
    Look forward to your Maiden reviews…….saw the Maiden England show in Cadott Wis….
    Unbelievable……

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    1. Girls is leaps and bounds better. I skipped this one, and I bought Girls next instead. I didn’t get this one until after Feelgood had come out, and I was shocked because I had come to expect a certain level of quality from the albums I bought.

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  4. From someone who saw The Shout at the Devil tour in like 1984 (Accept opening) … And someone who is not truly a Motley Crue fan….This ….. album ……. sucks …….. ass. 0.5/5 stars only because Home Sweet Home is “kinda” catchy.

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  5. I remember when I bought this album. It was on the day it came out and I played it to death. It’s actually broken now. I loved the record, every damn song. Today, not so much. It actually didn’t take that many years for the album to go out of date.
    I agree with almost every word of your review. But there were some song that was really good on this album. City Boy Blues, Smokin’, Tonight. And of course, Louder Than Hell, the best song on the album. But that song was written in 1981 so go figure

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      1. Yeah, I think he did. I wasn’t a Jetboy fan though. I have only heard a couple of songs that I saw on Headbanger’s Ball. Never made any impresssion on me.

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