REVIEW: Mötley Crüe – Girls, Girls, Girls (2003 remastered edition)

girlsMÖTLEY CRÜE – Girls, Girls, Girls (originally 1987, 2003 remaster)

The Tom Werman-produced Girls, Girls, Girls album is a bit underrated.  Its weaknesses are fairly obvious, but its strengths are less appreciated.  The Crue were coming off a bit of a stinker (Theater of Pain), so some changes were in order.  The band dropped the makeup and spandex in favour of a tougher street-ready look.  The intended direction this time was a bit of a combo of the first three Crue album.  They wanted the rawness of Too Fast For Love, the heaviness of Shout at the Devil, and the sleaze of Theater.  There was no reinvention of the wheel, nor was anybody in the band capable of that.  Nikki Sixx was deep into a heroin problem at this time, barely focused on the music at all.  This has been documented in his graphic book The Heroin Diaries.  Much of his time was spent hiding in a closet with a gun, afraid of imaginary intruders.

As an audience in 1987, we really did not suspect that things were such a shambles behind the scenes.  The band looked good, and sounded like they had rediscovered the skills of writing memorable songs.  Case in point:  opening track (and second single) “Wild Side”.  Boasting the kind of rock groove that Motley made their trademark, “Wild Side” rocked.  They even threw in a time change on the bridge.  “Wild Side” was augmented with a cool music video, showcasing the Motley stage show in 1987.  This included a spinning, upside down Tommy Lee drum kit.  “Girls, Girls, Girls” was a video too, but it never saw airplay up in Canada. Too risqué for the frozen tundra of the north?  It too was a hit, played live in concert right to Motley’s final show (opening number, in fact).

The album was rounded out by a number of cool, sleazy rock tracks and a couple ballads.  “Dancing On Glass” kicks; it’s pretty much an autobiographical track about living in the fast lane.  This is something the Crue were well acquainted with.

“Silver spoon and needle,
Witchy tombstone smile,
I’m no puppet, 
I engrave my veins with style.”

Since the cassette didn’t come with a lyric sheet, kids of the 80’s (or at least the parents of the 80’s) probably had no idea what Vince was singing about.  The song is given some traditional rock cred with soulful female backing vocals and boogie piano.

“Bad Boy Boogie” continued the theme, this time with some tasty Mick Mars slide guitar instead of piano.  “Better lock up your daughters when the Motleys hit the road.”  The song is a series of sexual innuendos, cleverness put to the side in favour of blunt sleaze.  “Got my finger in the pie, my hand in the cookie jar.”  Aerosmith leaks through the grooves on “Bad Boy Boogie” which wears its influence on its sleeve.  The good times continue to bounce on “Five Years Dead”, loaded with more of Mick’s greasy slide.  It’s a similar song to “Sumthin’ for Nuthin'”, which is even more fun.  This time Vince is a gigolo, getting paid for pleasure (sumthin’ for nuthin’)!  “Leave the money where it’s easy to see,” he sings with glee.  It’s brilliant Motley filth just the way you like it.  Best of all is the smokin’ “All in the Name Of…”, which pours high octane fuel in the tank and opens ‘er up wide.  It’s sleazier than sleazy:  “She’s only 15, she’s the reason, the reason I can’t sleep.  You say illegal, I say legal’s never been my scene.”  Probably a true story….

There are only two ballads, one of which is just 1:26 of filler (“Nona”).  The other is the very entertaining “You’re All I Need”, which sounds inspired by Alice Cooper.  It is a delicate piano based murder ballad, like the Coop has done so well.  “You’re All I Need” isn’t Coop quality, but on the Motley scale it’s one of their better ballads.  It has an anthemic quality, a pompous melancholy.  The lyrics doomed it to semi-obscurity, which is too bad, since on the whole it’s a stronger song than the better known “Without You”.

Unfortunately for this album, “Nona” was not the only filler.  An excruciating (and live?!) cover of “Jailhouse Rock” ends the album on a pretty putrid note.  It’s not good at all, and reeks of weakness.  Why would you end your new album with a cover, and a live cover at that?  Only because you didn’t have enough quality tunes to make the cut.

The 2003 remastered edition of Girls, Girls, Girls came with bonus tracks, like all the albums in the Crucial Crue collection.  Three of them are instrumental versions, bordering on filler material.  Motley Crue are not Rainbow or Marillion — you don’t get much out of an instrumental version.  “Nona” did once have a rock section in its longer demo form.  More entertaining than the demos is the band and Tom Werman intro. Funny stuff.  Then there is a long sought ballad “Rodeo”.  This song was first mentioned in band interviews in 1989, when it was mentioned for possible inclusion on a never-released album called Motley Crue: The Ballads.  The demo here is not very well fleshed out, but you can hear that it had a cool chorus ready to go.  Finally there is a live version for “All in the Name Of…” from Moscow in 1989.  Fans may recall that Motley played at the infamous Moscow Music Peace Festival…shortly before Tommy attacked Jon Bon Jovi and ripped the shirt off his back.  Peace and love, man!

Although the Crue were only firing on a couple cylinders at the time, they managed to piece together a worthwhile album.  There are only two mis-steps, which are “Nona” and “Jailhouse Rock”.  The remastered edition adds a couple more worthwhile bonus tracks to extend your listening experience.  Go for that one if you find it first.

3.5/5 stars

Side one
1. “Wild Side” 4:40
2. “Girls, Girls, Girls” 4:30
3. “Dancing on Glass” 4:18
4. “Bad Boy Boogie” 3:27
5. “Nona” 1:27

Side two
6. “Five Years Dead” 3:50
7. “All in the Name Of…” 3:39
8. “Sumthin’ for Nuthin'” 4:41
9. “You’re All I Need” 4:43
10. “Jailhouse Rock” (live) 4:39

2003 Remastered Edition bonus tracks
11. “Girls, Girls, Girls” (Tom Werman & band intro, rough mix of instrumental track) 5:38
12. “Wild Side” (rough mix of instrumental track) 4:06
13. “Rodeo” (unreleased track) 4:14
14. “Nona” (instrumental demo idea) 2:42
15. “All in the Name Of…” (live in Moscow) 5:02

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42 comments

  1. At the time it was like New Crüe Album….New Crüe Album …about a year later (1988) it was off my radar pretty much…..
    Your All I Need I cannot handle Vince’s vocals …Sumthin For Nuthin is a great track. Come to think of it I may have 3/4 Filler’d this thing……
    Nice throwback review….

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I dunno Mikey in some aspects yeah i do dump Keep Your Eye On the Money and Louder Than Hell and deduct the sappy ballad and Jailhouse rock from Girls and basically make one good album instead of two fillers….
        My 2 cents….

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  2. One of the few Crue albums I’ve heard. Can’t say I enjoyed it. Can’t say it was even memorable, though I think I might have laughed a few times when I was listening to it.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. As ballads go, “You’re All I Need” does edge out “Home Sweet Home” but only just. I saw Crue play “Jailhouse Rock” live when I saw them on the “Theatre of Pain” tour. I didn’t think it was that bad. Maybe it was the drugs. Still, it was what I expected from them at the time but I do like “Wild Side.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ding, dong. Ding, dong.

      Yeah I’ve never seen the movie but apparently it’s ample.

      The only review I read of this drum solo said:

      “So Tommy Lee played drums upside down. Big deal. It sounded like he was playing upside down, which wasn’t good.”

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I really like this. I don’t like Nona but just skip it, doesn’t annoy me.
    I wish the Elvis tune was studio not live, and a bonus track not a main track.
    I would slightly reorder the tracks.

    Other than this, I think its a pretty great record. All the stuff online I’ve read about it has been ‘disapointment disapointment disapointment’ but I really like it. All the heavy songs are good. The ballad is good.

    The two main singles are amazing.

    In any Crue cd or playlist I make, All In The Name and Dancing On Glass are there every time.

    I like this one more than Feel Good to be honest, or even Too Fast’

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Too Fast is untouchable in my world. Feelgood I just spun a few days ago. When I review it I’ll have to decide which is better. The production on Feelgood is outstanding, but it still has its filler. Sticky Sweet for example.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sticky Sweet is a great lil Aerosmith rip-off, I think. Time For Change was that album’s filler, I think. Horrible song.

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  5. While Theater Of Pain wasn’t that great of an album, I think it was the crossover album they needed to get Midwestern teens into coliseums and arenas to lose their minds. I remember it hitting in 1985 and it pretty much blowing up the entire rock scene. “Smokin’ In The Boy’s Room” and “Home Sweet Home” were absolutely monster hits, both in terms of AOR stations and top 40. Now I’m not saying it’s a great album, but ‘Pain’ was the album that invited Crue into the mainstream.

    As far as ‘Girls, Girls, Girls’, I was in middle school when it came out. I snagged it up right away and overall was pretty unimpressed with it. Dug “Wildside” and “Girls, Girls, Girls”, but the rest seemed like filler to me. I haven’t listened to it in years, so I’m not sure if my opinion has changed or not. Honestly, everything after ‘Shout At The Devil’ seemed spotty at best. I think ‘Dr. Feelgood’ is their most solid record. When Mick Mars discovered tuning your low E string down to D made things sound cool, their sound improved.

    Great write up.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you sir!

      Good point on Mick’s detuning, something I often forget. Feelgood is going to be a struggle for me to review. I absolutely went head over heels for it at the time, and I would say Motley was my “favourite” band at that time. Feelgood would have been my #1 album in ’89.

      But I just don’t listen to it and enjoy it as much as I used to. It’s difficult to process when an album you once would have called 5/5 now sits at a…I don’t know, let’s say 4/5 now. I’m not sure why or how to review it currently so I’m avoiding it :)

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I agree that Theatre Of Pain was a stinker, but I think this was one as well, only a different kind of stinker. A few really good songs – Wild Side, Girls, Dancing On Glass and You’re All I Need. The rest – nah… some really mediocre stuff, to put it mildly.
    The could probably have made one really good album if they took the best tracks from Theatre and this one, I guess.

    And oh, All In The Name of… was written about Traci Lords.

    Like

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