Released: 2005, Universal Music
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
Like the newly released ROCK OF AGES: THE DEFINITIVE COLLECTION from Def Leppard, Motley Crue’s double-disc career retrospective entitled RED, WHITE & CRUE does a bang-up job of jamming all the hits and enough album cuts, rarities and new tracks to warrant getting off your wallet. Released just in time for Motley Crue’s worldwide reunion tour (what a coincidence!), fans get 37 tracks culled from the band’s twenty-four year career and unlike the 1998 GREATEST HITS release, the oft-maligned self-titled album with John Corabi on vocals gets some much-needed love, as well.
The first disc has the songs that everyone knows from “Live Wire” through to “Dr. Feelgood.” Two rarities are included with “Toast of The Town,” a song recorded for the band’s original demo on Leathur Records in 1981, faring the best. What “Use It Or Lose It” is doing on here while “Red Hot” is not is beyond me, but track for track, this is a winner. Disc two has the lesser-known songs (to those outside the Crue faithful anyway) and two tracks taken from the ultra-rare QUARTERNARY release where each band member did a “solo” song. The fact that the sorely underappreciated MOTLEY CRUE release has two tracks (in remixed versions, no less) while the overtly-desperate “look at how modern we are” GENERATION SWINE album gets three cuts instantly knocks points off the final grade, but again, at least the Corabi tracks did get some mention. As for the three new tracks, they are a real mixed bag. “If I Die Tomorrow” was a reject written by the faux-punk boy band Simple Plan and frankly, if they don’t even find it worthy, why is Motley Crue bothering with it? “Street Fighting Man” is a Rolling Stones cover that pales in comparison to the original but “Sick Love Song” is as good a song as the Crue has penned in years with a chunky bottom end and a good vocal performance from Vince Neil.
RED, WHITE & CRUE is certainly worthy of a purchase by someone just starting out but for anyone who owns the studio albums, don’t bother. Besides, the band has been plundering their back catalogue since 1999 with not one but TWO full re-releases including box sets and live albums, so the cynic in me sees this as a well-timed cash grab and nothing more. However, I vividly remember begging my Dad to buy me the SHOUT AT THE DEVIL record (yes, RECORD with gatefold sleeve) back in 1983, so I can’t help but drool over having all these songs in one set for under $15.