Album Review: Mötley Crüe - Theatre of Pain

Ahhh the Crüe. Was their any band in the mid 80's that was cooler than Mötley Crüe? Not many. This group of misfits was coming off the success of their raunchy debut "Too Fast For Love" and follow-up chart-topper "Shout at the Devil" in 1985 when they released their third album "Theatre of Pain".

The four-piece consisting of vocalist Vince Neil, bassist Nikki Sixx, guitarist Mick Mars and drummer Tommy Lee - along with truckloads of cocaine, Jack Daniel's, groupies and sports cars - ditched their leather and chained demon look for a more glammy vibe, and the music followed.

Stories abound regarding the recording of "Theatre" with Neil literally on work release from prison due to a vehicular manslaughter charge - where Hanoi Rocks drummer Nicholas "Razzle" Dingley was killed. The band's fragmentation was apparent in the writing and song selection of "Theatre of Pain".

Two standout tracks exist on this album and have been staples of the Mötley Crüe live set ever since: The cover "Smokin' in the Boys Room" and "Home Sweet Home". The latter being the very first iconic 80's power ballad, and a true powerhouse that stands up to present day standards.

Amongst the various album filler, and weak sounding production, two other serviceable songs include: "Louder Than Hell" and "Raise Your Hands to Rock" - both which could have benefited from better production.

What saves "Theatre of Pain"? What makes it listenable decades later? The answer to that is the same as with every Mötley Crüe record: Mick Mars. A criminally underrated guitarist, and partially because he's the least visible member of the band, Mars has always displayed a unique ability to encapsulate the "dirty boy" feel of Mötley Crüe but without the flamboyance of other 80's hair metal guitar heroes. He plays with a swing and a bluesy feel that is truly unique, and always gives the song what it needs - no more no less.

"Theatre of Pain" is the third studio album by the American heavy metal band, released on June 21, 1985.  The album was recorded at the Record Plant in Los Angeles, California and produced by Tom Werman.


1. "City Boy Blues"

2. "Smokin' in the Boys Room"

3. "Louder Than Hell"

4. "Keep Your Eye on the Money"

5. "Home Sweet Home"

6. "Tonight (We Need a Lover)"

7. "Use It or Lose It"

8. "Save Our Souls"

9. "Raise Your Hands to Rock"

10. "Fight for Your Rights"

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