Motley Crüe - Generation Swine

Motley Crüe – Generation Swine

90 / 100

A reunited Motley Crüe helped contribute to the car smash that was the musical year of 1997.

Written by: Dangerzone

ARTIST: Motley Crüe
ALBUM: Generation Swine
LABEL: Elektra
SERIAL: 7559-61901-2
YEAR: 1997
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List

LINEUP: Vince Neil – vocals * Mick Mars – guitars * Nikki Sixx – bass * Tommy Lee – drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Find Myself * 02 Afraid * 03 Flush * 04 Generation Swine * 05 Confessions * 06 Beauty * 07 Glitter * 08 Anybody Out There? * 09 Let Us Pray * 10 Rocketship * 11 A Rat Like Me * 12 Shout At The Devil ’97 * 13 Brandon

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While reviewing the Dokken disaster ‘Shadowlife’, I started recollecting other similarly horrid hard rock albums from the no man’s land hard rock scene of 1997. One that sprung to mind is this forgotten bomb from a then reunited Motley Crüe, who like Dokken seemed to have forgotten what their original intent was as a band.

Instead they tried to stay ‘relevant’ by pandering to the mainstream sound of that year (whatever it was). The story has been told countless times, but Motley Crüe’s reunion with Vince Neil was bitter and fraught with tension from the onset.

The decision to dump John Corabi was based entirely on sales and income, despite the fact their lone 1994 album with him was easily one of their best albums of their entire back catalogue. Neil was the answer to their accountant’s problems, despite Tommy Lee’s disgust with bringing him back into the fold after having recorded a significant amount of new material with Corabi.

Neil has said that the sessions were acrimonious and fraught with hatred and openly mocked the alternative and industrial slant to the new music. His point is extremely valid when you listen to this album, sounding nothing like the Motley Crüe of the 80’s or even that 1994 self-titled album.

Apparently this was due to Lee and Sixx trying to be hip and emulating a host of different bands, something Neil wasn’t enamored with. This was hardly music to anyone’s ears in 1997, including my own. I heard it once and discarded it immediately. Many years later has done nothing to lessen this albums absolute failure.

The Songs

The industrial effects and tuned down guitar are audible immediately on the wretched ‘Find Myself’ where Neil delivers his vocals in a punkish, snotty tone set to a tuneless barrage. Clearly they’re trying to be rebellious and hip, but it sounds like a bunch of aging rockers trying to stay young and missing the mark.

Alt rock sludge anthems come hurtling by the barrel load, with ‘Afraid’ and ‘Flush’ both severe messes, the latter toying with Beatles type harmonies, which always seemed to be a mainstay of posers back then. Getting past the industrial drone is impossible too. What happened to simple guitar based hard rock? This angst ridden nonsense is hardly what Motley Crüe fans expected or wanted.

The title track sounds like songs heard on ‘Saints Of Los Angeles’ eleven years later, very punk once again, which was all the rage back then also. ‘Beauty’ has to be someone’s idea of a joke, just a terrible track with too many loops and electronic effects for me to take seriously.

Even more horrendous is the synth-pop madness of ‘Glitter’ which is about as hard rock as Mariah Carey. It’s unfathomable this song exists, try listening to it without shaking your head in disbelief. What was going through Neil’s head while singing this? Amazingly Bryan Adams is credited as a co-writer with Sixx.

Then Motley Crüe predictably perform an about face and churn out a quick thrasher ‘Anybody Out There’ which is forced and too brief. The opening riff of ‘Let Us Prey’ is the only genuine moment of heaviness, the track destroyed by yet more industrial interludes halfway in.

Sixx provides vocals for acoustic bore ‘Rocketship’ where he tries to be David Bowie, one of his many heroes. It doesn’t go anywhere and neither does ‘Rat Like Me’ which repeats musical ideas heard earlier, another disappointing alternative flop. The world naturally was crying out for an electronic version of ‘Shout At The Devil’ as if to say ‘we aren’t a metal band anymore’. This is better left unheard, totally abject in its performance and intent.

Lee gets in on the indulgence with ‘Brandon’ being an ode to his son. The use of violins and orchestral effects come off as pretentious, as if he’s trying to be the new John Lennon. The lyrics however well-intentioned and emotive (for Lee anyway) are eye-cringing, especially the lines ‘your mother gave birth to you with love inside’ and ‘she is your mom’.

In Summary

This album didn’t do anywhere close to the numbers hoped for and why would it have? If they’d played it down the line like 1983 or 1989 they’d have recaptured some of their glory. But they blundered badly by trying to keep up with the latest trends. This didn’t endear Motley Crüe to anyone and it barely went gold.

The resulting tour was hit and miss, fraught with yet more conflict between Neil and the band, brawling with Lee and Sixx on separate occasions. It was hardly a glorious comeback and it was capped off when Lee left a couple of years later for a solo career, burned out of the band and their antics. This was a missed opportunity for the Motley Crüe in retrospect.

They could have been a figurehead for every other struggling 80’s band by recording a true hard rock album, but they caved in to alternative pressure and became another trend victim. When they returned with ‘New Tattoo’ in 2000 they were back to their old ways, but after this uneven and faceless mess the damage was already done.

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