Friday, January 2, 2009

The Heroin Diaries Blog

Today, it's sort of hit me that I can't review newly published books for a year. There will be book reviews here in 2009, but not today. Today, I give you the first of my music reviews, for The Heroin Diaries Soundtrack by Sixx: A.M.

Last week, a DJ on 92.3 K-Rock referred to Nikki Sixx as the hardest-working man in rock today, a statement that's probably true. Sixx: A.M. is just one of many things Nikki Sixx does between Mötley Crüe gigs, although I have to say that they don't sound much like Mötley Crüe. I think that the thing that surprised me the most about The Heroin Diaries Soundtrack was how downtempo it was. The first single off the album, Life is Beautiful, is a modern power ballad. I figured it would be the album's one slow song, given, well, Mötley Crüe. Instead, it's representative of the general sound of the album, one of desperation and healing from a low point in life. Singer James Michael is both the best and worst thing about the band. He's got the passion required to sing these songs about pain, but while his middle register is full with just the right amount of grit, he's got zero upper register at all. This is painfully obvious in "Accidents Can Happen," which is a great song that would have been greater sung by someone with a larger range. The band breaks up the straightforward rock-beat music with some spoken word, which is sort of a neat effect. The opening spoken-word piece, "X-Mas in Hell," is read by Sixx, who has a really cool reading voice, low and gravelly. Some moments of the spoken word parts sound entirely too rehearsed and self-indulgent, but others sound bewildered and honest.

The album's appeal is obvious. The meaningful lyrics, heavy bass, and emotional delivery are reminiscent of all the bands that Mötley Crüe has helped pave the way for: Disturbed, Seether, Saving Abel, etc. Those who find Mötley Crüe too grinding, loud, and/or monotonous can enjoy this album, which is more melodious despite the drums and bass. It's a must buy for any library where popular music, especially rock, circulates with any degree of success.

Favorite songs on the album: Van Nuys, Accidents Can Happen

Sixx A.M.'s website || Nikki Sixx's website || The Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of a Shattered Rock Star

No comments: