MÖTLEY 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.
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
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