Not my cup of Crue

Music reviews

cover-Generation-Swine-front

Generation Swine, Motley Crue, Elektra, 1997.

Generation Swine is an interesting album to look back on. It was the Crue’s reunion album with singer Vince Neil -thus reforming the original lineup- and it was released in 1997 when being an artist from the 1980’s meant death in most cases and Alternative music was all the rage.

Younger bands at the time were rapping and experimenting with electronic sounds that were so popular in alternative and industrial music. Obviously the finished product is not your average Motley album. Vince Neil is back but clearly the songs were written for his departed replacement John Corabi. Neil tried to squeeze and fit in as best as he could but the mold was already cast and Swine is not a triumphant return by any stretch of the imagination.

It’s hard to imagine a fan of the band’s 1980’s heyday rocking out to this or enjoying it that much at all really. It’s a very different Crue album, perhaps more so than any other in the Crue catalog.

The self titled album with John Corabi on vocals was still a heavy album all throughout, but Swine is radical in that it introduces electronic elements, Nikki Sixx and Tommy Lee both sing songs on this one and the even re-record one of their classic songs with “Shout At The Devil ’97” (neither the electronic or Nikki and Tommy’s singingwould be brought back on the band’s next albums, or re-recording a previous song again or that matter) all of which make for a pretty unusual and interesting Crue record

“Find Myself” right from the get-go lets you know that this is very different Crue. It has that alternative sound mixed some NIN-like Industrial sound which is more or less a preview of the rest of the album. It’s not a terrible song but when you’re main lyrics are stuff like “I gotta find myself some drugs, I’m a bad mother******…”, well yeah. I’m not a fan of that voice that sings with Vince either.

I’ll give credit where credit is due. “Afraid” has grown to be one of my favorite Crue songs, it’s alternative alright and it reflects the scene of when it was recorded, but it’s honest, heavy and it rocks. Nikki’s lyrics are just great and out of all the songs this is one that feels the most like Motley.

“Generation Swine” the title-track is not a bad song, a good attempt. It doesn’t compare to anything on say, Shout at the Devil, but on its own it’s a good song and it’s fast paced and brutal.

“Glitter” is the obligatory ballad and I’m on the fence about this one. It seems like too obvious an attempt to write another “Home Sweet Home” or “You’re All I Need”. Some of the lyrics lack imagination and the pop noises are erringly reminiscent of the Backstreet Boys. It comes off as a sappy, yet honest attempt, Vince puts a lot of emotion into his singing.

“Beauty” actually makes good use of the electronic sounds and it’s not a bad song, its probably one of the better tracks here in fact.

“Shout At The Devil `97” is an interesting take but wasn’t necessary and it doesn’t improve on or surpass the original, but it’s there and for what it is it’s not bad it’s actually faster and good but at the core it’s just unnecessary reworking of an old song.

“Brandon” is received negatively by a lot of fans. It’s Tommy Lee’s piece for his son Brandon and although some of it is cliché and lame (I love you/ I love her/ she is your mother/ Brandon my son). It’s still very honest and even heartwarming in some way. I can’t say that it fits on a Motley Crue record however, it just seems out of place.

Then there are songs like “Anybody Out There” and “Rocketship” that are under or barely two minutes and are not long enough to either go someplace or let the listener get lost in the music or make up his mind about the song.

Then there is bonus material on the remasters. The remix of “Afraid” is for all purposes worthless, it doesn’t do much except add a part of industrial sounds here and there and it seems to bring down the volume of the guitars a bit but the original is far better.

“Wrecked” is a little too overtly sexual even for Motley (the chorus goes “Sex me, wreck me, give me your head, sex me, wreck me, give me your bed”), but it’s actually the song that sounds the most like Motley Crue which is ironic, but garage band version.

“Kiss the Sky” was also one of the better songs that I felt could and probably should have been on the record and replace something that wasn’t as good.

I can’t say that I care much about the demo of “Rocketship” however.

The times had changed in music and the brand of music Motley was known for was un-cool to like in 1990’s and it would be a few more years before it became “acceptable” to have anything to do with the ’80s again.

Away from the band Vince Neil released two solo albums but was reduced to being an opening act for other artists and had personal turmoil with the death of his daughter Skylar.

Although Motley’s self-titled album was a great, solid album that sounded unlike anything they had done before, it wasn’t accepted in the mainstream because it was attached to the name Motley Crue (even though the music reflected the change of music scenery rather well while still being their own thing). On the flip-side lot of Crue fans couldn’t accept it because it was too big a change in sound and of Neil’s departure.

Even though both parties had gone separate ways it was clear that it wasn’t working out so well for either. During the recording process for Generation Swine they reunited although no one was really happy. Neil replaced Corabi’s vocals on the album and it’s clear that those songs were fitted for him and that he helped shape them which makes a unique scenario as the material didn’t fit Neil.

I think this was clearly more of a John Corabi Motley Crue album. It obviously would have been better with him handling vocal duties, this songs were suited to his voice, not Vince Neil’s. I think it’s safe to say this one is only owned by hardcore and die-hard Crue fans and I don’t think even they play it much. Honestly it’s not an album that I’m too fond of and it’s certainly not an album that stood the test of time; it wasn’t great in 1997 and time hasn’t been kind to it.

This one is in the competition with New Tattoo (2000) for the title of worst Motley Crue album. New Tattoo comes out as a somewhat honest attempt at going back to their roots for just like Generation Swine was an attempt to keep up with the times and move forward. The problem is this is a true mish-mash and mess of an album with no clear direction. Even the band would agree agree I’m sure. It doesn’t sound much like Motley which wasn’t such a problem on the excellent 1994 self-titled album but it is here.

Generation Swine does very little for me and besides “Afraid” I can’t find a lot to onlike unfortunately it seems this one is largely forgettable and mainly serves for hardcore fans who must own everything Motley Crue. Even the cover’s bad. 1/5 star. I tried.

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