Motley Crue is definitely the band that marked the 80s. Five multi-million-selling albums, grandiose tours, one No.1 album, excesses, madness, and everything that goes with it are just part of what this group has become known for. Among other things, they were also trendsetters that later other bands blindly followed. All in all, in that first decade of existence, they achieved everything that could be achieved. And then came the 90’s…
This turbulent and extremely problematic decade for bands from the genre began with internal problems inherited from endless tours, which led to Vince Neil’s departure from the rest of the band, attempts to change the sound and style, tours with half-empty halls, and so on. Then came the famous “actresses”, Baywatch, video cassettes, even more excesses and wandering, too many personal tragedies, and reunions…
But what about the music during all that time? During this decade, they recorded three albums: Motley Crue (1994), Generation Swine (1997), and New Tattoo (2000), along with several compilations. In that spirit, we present to you a list of the best songs they recorded during this difficult decade, in our opinion!
11. 1st Band On The Moon (New Tattoo 2000)
New Tattoo from 2000 (yes, 2000 falls under the 90s) was just another tattoo on the body, as described by Nikki Sixx in the notorious book The Dirt. The album without Tommy Lee on drums, replaced by Randy Castillo, may not have been at the level of those from the 80s, but it was a kind of return to that sound. Experiments and alternative were over and a song like this set us back to the old days of the stripped-down rock ‘n’ roll with that unique Crue flavour. As things changed over time and the world became too politically correct, Motley Crue took their eccentric humor to the Moon. The first band to play on it in their own sleazy-motley debauchery style. Musically, this song, like almost the entire album, is considered by many as the true successor to Dr. Feelgood from 1989.
10. Bitter Pill (Greatest Hits 1998)
Motley has always been a band that loved to release compilations. But to make you buy it, they skillfully included new songs on almost every one of them. So, on this one from 1998, besides this track, there is also a song called Enslaved, specially recorded for this compilation. This year was very turbulent for the band. The failure of the previous album forced them to start thinking about returning to their old sound, and actually these two songs were the precursor to the album New Tattoo on which they confirmed their intention. All four of them had to swallow bitter pills that year, especially Tommy Lee, who ended up in jail and lost his marriage to the legendary Pamela Anderson in 1998, and in the end, left the band. It will be many years before his return, so at that time, these two songs were the last that the original lineup recorded.
9. Flush (Generation Swine 1997)
Generation Swine was simply a failure for most Crue fans, while for others, the more flexible ones, it was a treasury of interesting songs that was never seen before or after 1997. On this release, they tried to be alternative, they tried to include grunge, industrial, at times they were Pantera and then Stone Temple Pilots. There were misses, but there were also songs where they managed to be what they were, just in a slightly different manner. One of the better tracks from this album is the song Flush. Alternative to the core and with a serious theme about how to deal with it when someone commits suicide. Crue wasn’t just about entertainment. At least not in the 90s.
8. Misunderstood (Motley Crue 1994)
As for the serious Motley Crue, their 1994 album stands out in that regard. For many it’s the best album in the band’s discography, with the only downside being that they kept the same band name, according to Sixx himself. It’s pretty difficult to choose songs from this album on which John Corabi took over the main vocals replacing Vince Neil. We chose Misunderstood because it’s one of the first songs the band wrote with the new singer, and it was released as a single. The story of people who have “been through” life. Grungy, bluesy, swampy, alternative – that’s Crue in the mid-nineties. In this song, acoustics perfectly intertwine with powerful riffs, and at times, you can get the impression that it’s a band similar to groups like Soundgarden, Mother Love Bone, or the like. But no, this is Motley Crue. The Crue at their best according to many people.
7. Angela (Decade Of Decadence 1991)
This compilation represented a retrospective of everything achieved during the 80s, that famous decadent decade that Motley Crue totally ruled. Several new songs on this compilation indicated the direction the band planned to continue with new music. Besides Rock N Roll Junkie, which came out in 1990 (so we can’t put it on this list), there are covers of Sex Pistols’ Anarchy In The UK, and Angela, which musically represents a true glam metal anthem of the early 90s and summarizes everything the band had played before. This is the old good Motley Crue, and it’s still with Vince. The nineties have only just begun…
6. Power To The Music (Motley Crue 1994)
Power To The Music is the song that opens the album from 1994 and is, therefore, the first shocking thing the listener hears when opening a new chapter of Motley Crue. The riffs are as hard as stones, Corabi’s scream are raspy and fiery and the rhythm section simply crushes everything – that’s the new generation of Motley Crue that now prefers Pantera, Alice In Chains, and other stars of the early 90s. The message of this song could be that Motley Crue invites the industry and record companies telling them, “Even though you no longer want us, we are here and we can be stronger, harder, and more serious than your new favorites, if we want to be!” P.S. We could have put any other song from the album here because they are all simply top-notch.
5. Hell On Hight Heels (New Tattoo 2000)
We have already said that New Tattoo was some kind of return to the old. Even the choice of producer was a change in that direction. Bob Rock, who produced several previous albums, was replaced by Mike Clink, who produced Appetite for Destruction. “Hell on High Heels” was the single at the time that it could easily be found on the Dr. Feelgood album. There are other good songs on the album, such as “Dragstrip Superstar,” “Fake,” “She Needs RnR,” and others. Mick Mars was particularly happy with this release and the return to the old good Motley: “During the recording of Personality #9 (the first title for Generation Swine), they forced me to completely change my playing style so that I felt like I was the worst guitarist in the world.” It’s a shame that the songs from this album aren’t played today. Tommy Lee won’t do it because he wasn’t there to record them, plain and simple. Anyone who saw the Lewd, Crued and Tattoed concert in 2000 knows what we’re talking about.
4. Smoke The Sky (Motley Crue 1994)
We chose this song because it simply has the most powerful riffs and the hardest vibe on the album, which is made up of the same ingredients that we already described. What is being smoked in the sky in this song is in the lyrics, so we don’t have to explain it literally to you. Motley wanted to be heavy to the maximum and they succeeded. “Smoke The Sky” is a prime example that even the biggest critics can be silenced in just over three minutes!
3. Afraid (Generation Swine 1997)
Ladies and gentlemen, our top 3! Things can be arranged in several ways, but we chose to do it this way. “Afraid” is by far the best song on the maligned Generation Swine album. We have already said that they wanted to be something they weren’t at all costs on this album, and therefore made several cardinal mistakes. However, this phenomenal song in which Nikki Sixx sings to his future wife, blonde Baywatch/Playboy playmate Donna D’Errico, perfectly blends the old good Crue with Vince’s screechy vocals and the new alternative and twisted vibe that they stubbornly held onto. Simply put, all the pieces fell into place, and that’s why this song shouldn’t be dismissed just because it comes from the aforementioned album.
2. Hooligans Holiday (Motley Crue 1994)
We’ve already talked about how Afraid is the highlight of the 1997 album, but on this 1994 album, Hooligans Holiday is exactly the same. These are the hits we constantly talk about. It’s when everything falls into place and forms a perfect sounding tune. Also massive and heavy, with a brutally strong rhythm section and guitars from another planet (maybe Mars), it still stands out from the rest because of its striking immediacy that grabs you and never lets go. It’s a shame that Motley Crue experienced a total collapse with such quality music during those years, due to their legacy, the industry, and the fans who simply couldn’t digest it as Motley Crue. It’s also a shame that these songs aren’t played live at least occasionally on today’s concerts by the band, but John Corabi released a Live album in 2018 in which he played all the songs from this album, which you must definitely give a listen!
1.Primal Scream (Decade Of Decadence 1991)
Unfortunately, this is the only song from this list that the band still plays today. In fact, it is a song that has been an inevitable part of every playlist for the past 30 years. And that’s no coincidence. Another song from the aforementioned “decadent compilation,” Primal Scream is probably the best example of what Motley would sound like if they hadn’t had their falling out at the beginning of the decade. The song itself is more serious, a little darker, and heavier than what was being done up until then, which was noticed by most of the bands in the so-called glam metal scene in the early 1990s. That was the path that many intended to take but were prevented from doing so for well-known reasons. In this song, Sixx’s muffled bass perfectly intertwines with Mick’s powerful guitars, Tommy’s vibe, and Vince sounded like never before. It also has that one ingredient that later works don’t have – it retains that recognizable sleaze. A bit dosed than before, but still present. If they had made an entire album based on this song, it would have definitely overshadowed Dr. Feelgood in all possible parameters.
That’s it. The best 11 songs of Motley Crue from the 90s, in our opinion. Obviously, the band weren’t just chasing blondes, making tapes, and succumbing to their own vices and tragedies. There was a lot of good music, and it wasn’t easy to choose these 11. We could make another 11, like a second league, if we consider these to be the first. Or even better, let’s hear from you. What are your favorite Crue songs from this decade? Write in the comments below the article, we’re interested to know what you think!