* * "GIRLS, GIRLS, GIRLS." Motley Crue. Elektra.
This album is the hard-rock equivalent of a "Porky's" movie directed by George Lucas. Though the L.A. quartet has long been associated with "Girls" producer Tom Werman, the teaming has never before such high-tech raunch.
The opening track, "Wild Side," introduces the LP's moldus operandi : The song tears open with Mick Mars' speedy fret-grinding front and center until the entrance of singer Vince Neil, whose voice sticks out like a sore throat.
It's not just Neil's hyper-raspy singing that's so conspicuous, but what he's singing: Neat stuff like "No escape/Murder, rape/Doing time on the wild side." This, after a brief allusion to the Lord's Prayer! Werman keeps things burnished and firm, and underscores this tale of urban chaos by dropping in the sounds of gunshots, screams and sirens.
"Girls, Girls, Girls" arrives two years after the Crue's last record, "Theatre of Pain." So you'd think the band might have used the time to refine its sound and songwriting. Well, yes and no. The lyrics to a few of the nine originals--all written or co-written by bassist Nikki Sixx--reflect slightly more thought, or slightly better phrases, than the lunkheaded Crue tunes we're used to.
Of course, Sixx still pretty much confines his themes to the Big Three (girls, sex and rock 'n' roll). He does try a heartfelt, twisted paean to a mate--the mega-ballad "You're All I Need--and issues a similar pledge in "Nona."
But "Dancing on Glass," a cautionary anthem about hard living and excesses, is neither too emphatic nor too sweeping, making it sketchy and conditional. And if that message weren't mixed enough, "Dancing" is followed by "Bad Boy Boogie," a Motley anthem that celebrates the on-the-edge life style.
Werman places the material in a fairly wide variety of sonic settings, freely using anything from sound effects to huge choruses. While this generally is akin to dressing up a wino in tails, sometimes it works wonders: "Nona," a pretty, highly stylized piece, is a momentary tour de force.
On the other hand, the LP ends with the Crue's dreadful live version of "Jailhouse Rock." But given the metal-friendly climate in rock right now, did you really think that this abysmal misstep would prevent "Girls, Girls, Girls" from soaring into the Top 10? Guess what? It entered the Billboard chart at No. 5.