The most annoying thing about people who’ve died and been revived is that they never, ever shut up about it. Nikki Sixx, reigning champion of the second shot at life, has in fact gone so far as to make a movie about his brush with death. Unfortunately for all of us, his virulent strain of narcissism can’t even be excused by the fact that he once reached the pinnacle of pop metal songwriting.
Maybe his songs are fantastic on this new album — the soundtrack to the story of how he died for five minutes in 1987 — and we’ll never doubt him again. Maybe he eschewed the tired, formulaic route that he took on Mötley Crüe’s most recent ventures, realized his forte was with fun, upbeat, bluesy shredding, and returned to his roots.
Oh, his prowess is still there. It comes out in fits and starts. It’s there just long enough to remind you what it sounded like, then it maddeningly burrows back down under murky layers of mediocrity.
Take “Pray For Me,” a potentially great song that starts out with a jazzy energy, but on the chorus dips into tired chord progressions and lyrics so melodramatic it’s literally unbelievable. How can he possibly think we’re going to take this seriously? Or “Heart Failure.” Now there’s a powerful title, but all the song has to drive it is a pretty-good-but-not-worth-what-I-paid-for-this-album solo.
Sixx made music that spoke for itself. It was how he proved himself to people who didn’t believe in him. It saved his life and made him something. Now that he’s telling the very story of how he would’ve been naught but a dead junkie if it weren’t for his musical talent — seemingly the most important thing in his life — he can barely pull enough old tricks out of his tattooed, needle-pocked ass to write one full good song, let alone string a bunch together to make a decent album.
The best thing about this album is the liner art, which is never a complimentary remark, but when it’s said about someone as formerly influential as Sixx, it just goes to show that he should’ve burned out during his heyday instead of trying to stretch his career this far. This album will make you wish those paramedics had never shown up.