I make no secrets about the fact that I literally despise Nikki Sixx. I find it sickening that he's used his hedonistic, ridiculous addictions of the past to profit from. See, I was there in the 80s, and was a huge Motley Crue fan. Nikki Sixx did not suffer from the disease of addiction. In fact, he flaunted it. At least outwardly, Motley Crue were proud to be junkies, flying the flag of abuse under the guise of it all being for "sex, drugs and Rock n' Roll". I know as a teenager, I was heavily influenced by this, and I can tell you for a fact that I snorted more than one line of coke with "Dancin' On Glass" playing in the background at a party. I find it disgusting that Sixx and his media machine prop him up as an overcomer of this disease, when the reality is he used it to make money when he was a user, and he continues to make money from it now that he's stopped. Maybe I'm crazy here, but giving up smack is not heroic...it's what you are supposed to do.
That said, I am as guilty as anyone for supporting this turd, as I have to honestly admit that I really enjoy the music he's doing about those times with the entity known as Sixx AM. Listening to his recent reworking of some of the material from the band's first two releases, I can't help but to seriously find this material credible; in many ways more credible than the original, rocked up versions of these songs. The stripped down versions of many of these songs on 7 are a lot stronger than their plugged in counterparts. "This Is Gonna Hurt" is brilliant stripped down. Vocalist James Michael is, without any question, the strength of the band's performances here and on the other two albums. His ability to put realistic emotion into material that he didn't write is masterful. "Life Is Beautiful" is particularly haunting. Michael's performance comes off almost like a spoken word suicide note, albeit beautiful in the loneliness of the song's message. DJ Ashba's guitar solo on this song works particularly well here too.
Each and every song on 7 is a masterpiece, and far more appropriate to the stories Sixx told in his two books. The band is best on the final song of the disc, "Accidents Can Happen". Again, Michael is the star here. His pain-filled vocals are countered with an almost inspirational uplift in the chorus which then gives way again to more pain. As one that thinks that Sixx is an overrated songwriter that wrote a lot of pathetic lyrics that were praised in Motley Crue, it's good to hear that there is still ability to pen some smart, moving lyrics here.
PITRIFF RATING - 93/100 - Rumor has it that Motley Crue will be going "on hiatus" this Spring. Good. They are a band that hasn't recorded a solid album since 1994, and a band who's current lineup hasn't done anything worth listening to since 1990. Sixx AM is the stronger project at this point, and 7 is the strongest thing they've done to date. Sure, it's just redux of songs they've already done, but the change of sound and scenery for these songs makes them far better than their first recordings plugged in. I may not have much interest at all in the always overhyped Nikki Sixx, but I can't argue that his current band is excellent.