REVIEW: Mötley Crüe – The Dirt Soundtrack (2019)

MÖTLEY CRÜE – The Dirt Soundtrack (2019 EM7)

Netflix scored another huge hit with The Dirt.  It’s a phenomenon with old fans basking in nostalgia, while youngsters hear the band for the first time.  It has been praised, debated, and nit-picked while a surge in Motley sales at the record stores boomed.

The movie soundtrack is an 18 track collection, spanning just a sliver of Motley history:  1981-1989.  All the glory, none of the ugliness or genre-jumping later.  To hype it further the band reconvened in the studio with producer Bob Rock and cranked out three new songs with one really calamitous cover.

Disclaimer:  I haven’t seen The Dirt, and am in no rush either.  I already have The Real Dirt in my VHS Archives.  I don’t need to see the cock-chopper from Game of Thrones doing an American accent pretending to be Mick Mars.  If the songs chosen for this soundtrack have anything to do with the scenes in the movie, I wouldn’t know.

Proceed.

 

Let’s get the greatest hits out of the way first.  Considering that Motley Crue had umpteen (five) compilations already, how does The Dirt hold up?

Remarkably well.

There are a few notable omissions you’ll have to acquire elsewhere.  “Smokin’ in the Boys’ Room” and “Wild Side” are missing, but there are better things included instead.  You won’t miss those songs too much since you get early album classics like “Merry-Go-Round”, “Piece of Your Action”,  “Red Hot” and “On With the Show” instead.   The album is also wisely light on ballads.  “Home Sweet Home” is obviously a compulsory inclusion, but you won’t find any second-tier ballads like “Without You” here.

There’s something interesting about the new recordings, and that’s the identity of Nikki’s new writing partner.  John5 is credited on them (along with a host of other names).  For those keeping score, this is the fourth fucking time Motley Crue have recorded a handful of new songs for a hits compilation.  (You could make a 13 track compilation album just from those songs now.)  But this particular batch of new songs is like finding a few rotten spoiled eggs in your carton.

When bands like Motley Crue start incorporating rap into their tunes, it reeks of desperation and that’s “The Dirt (Est. 1981)”.  Machine Gun Kelly is the rapper who portrays Tommy Lee in the film (and does a smashing job of it, say the reviews).  It’s not rap music that is the problem, it’s the fact that Motley have never been that band.  From a certain point of view it’s cool that they gave Kelly a part in the song, acknowledging his role in the movie.  Also, Mick Mars’ solo is brilliant: a six-string stunner, proving the axeman just… keeps… getting… better!  But the song is an over produced mishmash of modernity that is starkly at odds with the old material.

What do others think?  We reached out to Superdekes over at Arena Rock.

“I liked that Crue album,” he said. “Go figure.”

Even the new songs?  “Yeah I do,” continued Deke.  The rap too?  “Well, the rap as its more of a speed thing…”

And that’s a good point.  Check out a rapper like Logic for some amazing speed rapping.  That’s an artform and it sounds good.

It’s just not Motley Crue.  Next!

“Ride With the Devil” suffers from the same kind of overproduction.  What’s cool about it is this cool soul-metal hybrid sound it has going on.  Then Vince Neil starts rapping.  Yes, it’s true that in 1995, Vince Neil made a solo album that combined hip-hop and metal, and of course Tommy Lee has his Methods of Mayhem.  That’s why those were solo projects!

“Crash and Burn” is an appropriate title for this point of the soundtrack, but fortunately the songs is the best of the trio.  The groove is mechanical but Mars is right there laying his electric wizardry on top.

What is perhaps most indefensible is Motley Crue’s putrid cover of Madonna’s “Like a Virgin”.

In 1984, when “Like a Virgin” was getting regular television and radio rotation, we used Motley Crue to drown that shit right out.  To hear Motley Crue now singing that actual shit is alternate-universe level mindfucking.

What did Deke have to say about “Like a Virgin”?

“I thought they did it well.  I really like how they twisted the music.”

(We understand that “Like a Virgin” has been getting regular dancefloor action over at the newly refurbished Deke’s Palace up in Thunder Bay.  “Asses are shaking” to the song, said our anonymous source.)

Ending this review on a positive note, what’s good is seeing Motley Crue back in the top of the charts again.  People are talking about the band again.  They’re having debates, like the good-intentioned ribbing here.  Fans are loving the movie and demanding a sequel to fill in the gaps and finish the story.

Have we heard the last of Motley Crue?   Not by a long shot.

3/5 stars

 

 

 

 

40 comments

  1. “Dancing On Glass” is my favorite song of theirs. Does that make me strange?

    Too Fast for Love – 5/5
    Shout at the Devil – 4.5/5
    Theatre of Pain – 1.5/5
    Girls, Girls, Girls – 3.5/5
    Dr. Feelgood – 2.5/5

    All in my opinion.

    Liked by 1 person

        1. Yes, Ed Wood and Dune are in the queue, right? We should do a Crue week. Five days, five albums. We can sort it out by email.

          Like

        2. I forgot what’s in the queue right now? Ed Wood and Dune? We should do a Crue week, five albums for five days. We can sort it out by email.

          Like

  2. Great fun review and thanks for the shout out(at the devil!) ha
    That is a great idea as you mentioned that the Crue should put all of those extra 13 tracks and release it!
    Man, text Sixx right way with that idea!
    I dig this comp cool running order as it features a good portion of the debut!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yeah Deke’s Palace got shut down by the Fire Marshall as too many buns were jammed onto the dance floor …

      Girls/Girls/Girls..

      “Trick or treat, sweet to eat
      On Halloween and New Year’s Eve
      Deke’s Palace girls you just can’t be beat
      But you’re the best when you’re off your feet”

      Liked by 1 person

  3. What I found ridiculous is that they say “The Dirt” in all 3 of the original songs like we were idiots and didn’t know that this was for the movie of the same name. Are they that dried up on lyrics that they had to repeat that over and over. It is just awful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good point that I almost memtioned myself.

      It also bugs me how the ORIGINAL soundtrack to The Dirt has been ignored. Saints of Los Angeles was designed as the soundtrack. Chick = Trouble is a chapter in the Heroin Diaries too.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. There was never any danger of me buying this (or even listening to it on Spotify or the likes), but I’m slowly edging towards watching The Dirt (a few pals have seen it and said it’s genuinely good fun).

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  5. I bought this disc and I keep going back and forth on whether I just want to sell it and retain the four new tracks, or keep it for the collection. For a band with such a low studio albums to years-in-existence ratio, Mötley Crüe has a RIDICULOUS amount of compilation albums. And that only leads into my theory: in many ways, they’ve been completely lost since 1994. Sure, they got Vince Neil and Tommy Lee back after a spell and released Saints of Los Angeles, but artistically they’ve been stifled ever since their self-titled album tanked (and let’s be honest: they were more about the partying side of rock and roll than the music to begin with). Ever since then their output has consisted of one trend-chaser after another, whether it be current styles or an attempt to call back to their glory days in the 1980s.

    The new tracks on the soundtrack aren’t bad, but I read somewhere that they had what amounts to an album’s worth of songs ready to go and just selected the “best” ones. Hence why every song save for the cover seems to mention the film by name. I could be recalling it wrong and I’ve been unable to drum up the article where I gleaned that information, but it plays into the point I’m making: the band is lost and has been for decades. The reason they keep dropping collections and have only released a two albums since the ’90s is because they’re constantly trying to remind people of their glory days. It’s only logical that they would “retire.”

    The key difference is that for all of the braggadocio, the band loves to play with history and ignore anything that makes them look like they’re not on top of the world. Sure, they’ll include multiple scenes of drug use and debauchery in The Dirt film, but anything that implies that their albums were tanking? That they were throwing everything including the kitchen sink into Generation Swine in an attempt to have a hit? The closest thing we get is a glimpse at the skeleton crowds they were playing to on the 1994 tour, which of course are blamed entirely on the change of frontman rather than changing tastes at the time. The film ends with a heartfelt reunion scene (Nikki, Mick and Tommy all sitting down with Vince and showing some brotherly love) which is completely antithetical to what actually happened (lawyers, infighting, Tommy splitting).

    I myself don’t care for biopics because they gloss over details whilst simultaneously pretending to give the “facts.” I understand that certain liberties HAVE to be taken with history in order to craft a narrative that will be palatable for a film audience, but there’s a difference between changing a few minor details or combining a couple of people into one person with those personality traits and outright LYING to the viewers like The Dirt and Bohemian Rhapsody do. After all, if the film in question can’t even give us something similar to the facts of what happened, what’s the point in watching? The only reason these things are made is supposedly to tell the “story” of a band or artist, so why change anything major if it was so interesting that a film be made? If you just want to make up a story, just make up a band to go along with it. I’ve expressed as much to a co-worker of mine who claims that I should just stick to documentaries, and he’s probably right. What I don’t personally understand is why he and others are so accepting of fallacies as long as the film is “entertaining.” Of course, that’s not even the worst of it: most viewers just assume the film is telling them the story straight and that the material presented is completely accurate. Sigh.

    I didn’t watch the entirely of The Dirt, but I did skip around to see what parts of the story it would botch. I’ve read the book so a film version was only ever going to be a lesser version (and the book itself isn’t that great to begin with, not to mention the fact that everyone was on drugs/alcohol constantly but we’re supposed to take what they’re saying as literally what happened?) Predictably, Corabi got the shaft, despite the fact that the band claim to be on decent terms with John (even Vince, recently posing for a picture with Corabi backstage: https://twitter.com/crablegs59/status/739862679557398528). The film ends implying that after their reunion with Vince they resumed their status at the top when nothing could be further from the truth. Sure, the book pulls less punches, but it was published in 2000 and the struggles were much more recent. Who knows what the band might have left out or outright twisted if it were put out in 2019 instead? Their most recent tour confirmed to them that they’re legends; at this point it’s hard to tell if they can even remember what it was like to struggle through the ’90s or if they think it was just a bad dream. Any potential sequel film would have to cover the Generation Swine period and the fallout between Vince and Tommy, which would completely contradict the ending of the current film. I could be wrong, but I doubt that it’ll happen.

    I wish that Mötley would own their professional history the same way they supposedly own their personal history. Even the video for “All Bad Things” completely ignored the 1994 album when throwing album covers around (but it included New Tattoo for some reason; is Vince more important than Tommy?) I’m frankly surprised they even reissued it under the Crücial Crüe banner during the remasters phase. What they SHOULD have done for their final tour is invite Corabi back as that fifth member and fully embrace their history, playing all the favorites as well as a few key cuts from the 1994 album to give a full overview of their entire catalogue. Sure, some fans may not get it, some may even be hostile, but I highly doubt any negativity they encounter would override the ticket sales, not to mention it would have exposed their fanbase to that album that so many of them ignored and continue to ignore. But that would have required them to make a classy move and potentially split the loot, so of course it didn’t happen. Oh, well. It did my heart good to see stray comments about the 1994 album being ignored, so at least it’s not just me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You left a lot for me to unpack here, but I think I agree with just about everything you said.

      The most interesting thing you mentioned here was the potential for a sequel. And I think that they should! I think that era offers just as many storytelling possibilities. The friction during Generation Swine, the punch-out that caused Tommy to quit… why not? It’s all in the book. Should be fair game. And then to go beyond that, with the 2005 reunion that was quite well received, and Saints.

      I also agree with your analysis on the Motley timeline. After 1994 and the derailment after, Motley have really been just trying to re-establish themselves, and they never hit those creative highs again.

      Like

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