Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Motley Crue - Too Fast For Love

Believe it or not, when considering the parody that Motley Crue has become, the actually began as a straight-up dangerous glam-metal band who seemed intent on using their decadence for their own immediate gratification rather than parlaying it into a marketable image.

That notion would come later-thanks to some money-hungry music-biz types-but Too Fast For Love remains as an untainted debut from those early fuck-all days. The lyrics are dumb, the recording sounds off, and their performances full of more attitude than talent. Which is why Motley Crue’s debut sounds wonderfully out of place even today while remaining their most essential recording in both influence and sheer consistency.

I go a bit farther and suggest that Too Fast For Love is probably the best, true glam rock album of the 80’s and perhaps just as vital as those revered Iron Maiden records that everyone points to when compiling best-of’s and critically praised. We like those-myself included-because their creators would probably hold their own with us in a battle of brains, while the boys in Crue would merely come across as barely functioning half-wits, annoying to a fault and not at all clever, at least not until you learned that they’ve nicked your wallet, your girlfriend, or both.

I love how the opener “Live Wire” begins with the sound of a hot amplifier while Mick Mars waits for the signal from the control room to begin playing. As soon as the nod is given, he looks down towards his guitar and starts a riff that is equal parts punk and metal, an impressive feet for a guy that used the Crue to reinvent himself after a decade of barely making ends meet on the bar band circuit.

The good news, is that Mars’ transformation is complete as the rest of Too Fast shows how quickly he picked up on this alien genre, a style he most undoubtedly learned from his younger bandmate, Nikki Sixx.

Credit also has to go to drummer Tommy Lee, a lanky beater who plays the kit like someone with ADHD and a bad coke habit on top of it. Cowbells, crash cymbals and double bass drums arrive in the mix without notice, like Lee is concerned that this will be his last recording session ever, so he wants to make sure that every part of his kit is heard in the final results.

While Nikki Sixx now likes to portray himself as a misunderstood writer with legitimate underground credentials, his lyrics and bass performance on Too Fast For Love barely register above an 8th grade reading level. Not that this is a bad thing, because when you combine that fact with Vince Neil’s woefully inept vocal abilities, you have a perfectly executed piece of art.

Too Fast For Love is completely devoid of the clich├ęd posturing of the band’s later work and is closer to the gutter than anything else they ever recorded. It’s one thing to remind people of your street cred, but Too Fast For Love is the only Crue album that sounds like a credible-and incredible-band fresh off the Sunset Strip.

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