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Theatre of Pain
Released: 1985, Elektra
Classic Pick of the Month
OK, I can already see the comments I’m gonna get on this review, so let’s head them off at the pass. Yes, TOO FAST FOR LOVE and SHOUT AT THE DEVIL are far more classic than THEATRE OF PAIN. Yes, THEATRE was the Crüe’s BLACK album ... the beginning of the end. Yet, even though THEATRE marked a major departure from the musical philosophy of a great metal band, just like the aforesaid Metallica album did, it was still a pretty damn good album. Commercially driven, yes. But it still had enough oomph left in it to make it a classic pick.
Radio and MTV loved a couple of the songs on this album, so we got saturated with them. For those of us old enough to remember, the video to "Home Sweet Home" stayed number one on the 80s version of TRL for so long that they had to change the rules on how long a song could stay on the request list. Yet the better songs on this album never made it to radio or MTV, which means they weren’t so overplayed that I can’t stand them anymore. Honestly, I always hit the forward button whenever I hear the first few notes of "Smokin’ in the Boys Room" and "Home Sweet Home". The songs that have stood the test of time on THEATRE are "City Boy Blues", "Louder Than Hell", "Save Our Souls" and the delightfully wicked "We Need A Lover (Tonight)". I’m telling you people, those last three songs may seem tame by today’s standards, but when I was in high school back in the 80s they were evil as hell. And evil is good!
We older metalheads mourn what the Crüe became after THEATRE, but three strong albums is still better than most metal bands ever muster in a career. So for those of you who thought the first two albums were all you needed to make your Crüe collection complete, reconsider. This one is a keeper.
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