ANOTHER Mötley Crüe greatest hits package? Of course, my first reaction is WHY? First there was Decade of Decadence 81-91, which covered the first ten years. Then there was Greatest Hits, which covered up to the self-titled disaster that was John Corabi singing. Then they did the mysterious Supersonic & Demonic Relics. If that wasn’t enough, in 2003, they finally released a 2-CD live set. In the last year or so, they’ve released two boxed sets with a third one due any day. In other words, Motley Crue has gotten really good at releasing old material over and over again. Judging from the most recent new material, New Tattoo, that’s not a totally bad thing.
However, this one was specifically put together for the reunited band to have something to tour behind on the upcoming “farewell” tour. Unlike all of the previous compilations, Red, White and Crüe is an absolute anthology, beginning-to-end, of the Mötley career of a band that shouldn’t even have survived to HAVE a career, much less become influential and respected “elder statesmen of hard rock.” The story is covered elsewhere, though (try The Dirt: Convessions of the World’s Most Notorious Rock Band). This set is about the music that made them famous. You know, that perfect blend of pop, gritty rock ‘n roll, punk and metal that other “hair bands” copied until grunge killed the style.
It’s all here, from the first Leathür records single, “Toast of the Town” to the three new tracks recorded specifically for this compilation. There’s a generous selection from EVERY Crüe release including the previously mentioned compilations, the Quarternary sessions and every title track. Also included is the song “Black Widow” which you would have to buy the second boxed set to get elsewhere since it was never restored to it’s rightful place on the Too Fast For Love album. The tracks are sequentially arranged by release and most fans will enjoy the first CD much more than the second since the first one covers the “classic” era of the band with such hits as “Shout At The Devil,” (glaringly missing the “In The Beginning” intro!) “Smokin’ In The Boy’s Room,” Wild Side,” “Kickstart My Heart” and “Dr. Feelgood.” Buried on the second disc one will find the excellent “Primal Scream” from Decade.. as well as the superior ’91 remix of the classic power-ballad Home Sweet Home as well as many of the later hits like “Hooligan’s Holiday” and “Hell On High Heels.”
The three new tracks, “If I Die Tommorow,” “Sick Love Song” and “Street Fighting Man” are terrible, somewhat adequate and tolerable in order. They are an obvious and failing attempt to recapture some of the old magic and are best ignored in favor of the stronger old material.
Value priced as a single CD but including over 2&1/2 hours of music, including a taste of each Mötley album, this is an excellent anthology of their career. For those who don’t want to shell out the $50+ apiece for the boxed sets just to get the highlights, this one is the right choice. It also makes an excellent companion to the live album giving you a collection of the best Crüe tunes both live and studio.
Rating: 9 of 10