MOTLEY CRUE – New Tattoo (2000 Motley records, EU edition with bonus track and 2 CD edition)
The worst Crue album? Could be Theater of Pain, Generation Swine, or 2000’s New Tattoo. I don’t like speaking ill of the dead, but Randy Castillo was not a suitable replacement for Tommy Lee. Tommy Lee isn’t a great technical drummer by any stretch, but he has bombast and his songwriting is crucial to the Motley sound. Here, the songwriting void is filled by future Sixx A.M. collaborator James Michael.
The drum sound is flat and lifeless, the guitar is dry, and there is simply no fire here. The songs drone from soundalike to soundalike, and you will forget which is which. This is the Crue on cruise control if not pure autopilot. Of course, the band hyped this as a “return to the roots” album, which it is not. The Crue’s roots are bombastic loud chrome plated sleezy metal with loads of attitude and aggression. This is dull, pointless, meandering rock that goes nowhere. Without Tommy, I am inclined to say there is no Crue. Compare this to the Vince-less self titled 1994 album, a 5/5 star release all the way. Who is more crucial to the band’s energy?
Not one, I repeat, not one great song here, but plenty of mediocre ones. “Hell On High Heels” isn’t too bad, but it’s certainly not up to the standards of Motley Crue singles past. Also half decent is “Punched In the Teeth By Love”, a title which dates back to 1991’s Decade of Decadence. Unfortunately the majority of New Tattoo is clogged up with dreck like “She Needs Rock N’ Roll”, “Hollywood Ending” and the title track. Nothing stands out after numerous listens.
MVP: Mick Mars, who always seems to nail a tasty solo when needed.
The saving grace to this particular release is the live disc with Samantha Maloney (ex-Hole) on drums. It is more fun and entertaining than the album itself, but maybe that’s because the live disc is 66.6% oldies. The two demos included are no better than the album versions, but collectors should be aware that Europe got a version with a different bonus track called “Time Bomb”. On top of that, Japan got an exclusive song called “American Zero”. It’s too bad it was relegated to Japan alone, because it might be the only track that actually hearkens back to the good old days.
Avoid. A bore and a chore to listen to. Pick up 1994’s self-titled release instead.