In fairness, I only own two Crüe albums: Shout at the Devil and Saints of Los Angeles. And that was all I ever really needed, to be completely honest.
I've gone back and forth on this one. An initial headphones listen had me loving this album, but subsequent listens have wavered dramatically. There's definitely something here as a "straight rock album," but it seems to be lacking a great single or the sophistication to be really at that next level. And yet I waver even on that. There's something going on here.
In many ways, this is the most un-Crüe effort of their career: it's more classic Sunset Strip, almost like early Ratt with Vince Neil on vocals. (To that point, Ratt may have ripped off the riff for "Come on and Dance" for "Lack of Communication" to boot. Of course, on "Too Fast for Love" and "Toast of the Town" the Crüe ripped off the Sex Pistols. Sharing is caring, people.) Side note: it's shocking how reserved Tommy Lee's playing is, as he would develop to one of the greatest drummers ever but you would never know here.
Also, there is a surprising amount of cowbell. As in "an alarming amount of cowbell."
Having heard the non-remastered YouTube videos compared to the cleaned up production, I'd say that this is one remaster you need if you want to continue listening to it. The original video sound is just wretched.
Now it's time for our newest segment, 5 Questions with The Snilch. (Editor's note: This would be the lazy man's way of ending this review.)
- Is it better than Appetite for Destruction or Van Halen I? In a word... no.
- Do you have a reason why That Metal Show would rank the album so highly? I'd say that it's probably like The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band or Hüsker Dü's Zen Arcade -- if you got that album when it came out, there's a "time and place" element that blew you away at the time, as it was a revolutionary statement in the moment. But ultimately Rubber Soul or New Day Rising might have more legs to stand on its own as a musical piece as time goes on.
- So in other words, you don't know. That's not even a question, jackass.
- No need to get cross with me... Is it their best album? Well, from front to back it is the most consistently good album they ever put together... but, before you get started with me, yes, I'm ducking the question. How about this: is it the first Crüe album I will reach for when I go back to listen to them in two months? Probably not. It'll be vying with Saints of Los Angeles for second behind Shout at the Devil. And that probably says it all.
- Wait... did you just ask yourself the fifth question as part of your response? What is wrong with you? Do you not even get the basic concept here? First of all, you asked three questions right there. Second, question #3 was not even a question. Third, I appear to be arguing with myself, which seems odd. I don't get a lot of sleep.
CD Placement Rating: Portable CD Case.
Compilation/Reissue Ripoff Index: Non-existent. If you like this album, you need the remaster for the 175% improvement in audio quality.