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4.0 out of 5 stars
Theatre of Pain
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48 of 50 people found the following review helpful
on July 19, 2009
Format: Audio CD
The popular myth is that Theatre Of Pain is Motley's weakest album - as opined by no less than the band itself! I offer this review by way of an alternative viewpoint.

I was 16 when this album came out. At the time I was (and still am) a huge Iron Maiden fanatic. Having dabbled in the fun-but-hardly-life-changing Quiet Riot and Def Leppard (plus ol' Purple and Sabbath which just seemed so...70s) I was totally floored by Motley's Shout At The Devil in every way - the look, the attitude, the riffs etc etc and they shared my top spot along with trusty old Maiden through the 80s.

The great thing about Theatre was that it was such a dramatic left turn from Shout. The image was all Nikki's commedia dell'arte concept with the flowing trenchcoats and the `comedy/tragedy' design. Glam? I didn't even know what glam was at that age and to the best of my knowledge David Bowie was the dude who sang `Let's Dance' right? No, this was just the Crue being bizarre! There's no way this could be compared to Marc Bolin or The Sweet in their indian feathers.

Musically the Crue had opened it up - ditching the straight-ahead crunch of Shout and moving into bluesy grooves, big melodies, and lush production. Mick had opened (or reopened) his guitar palette with slide and acoustics. Nikki was playing 8-string basses and synths, and Tommy had famously added piano to his arsenal. This was probably the first album where I really noticed the production, the use of keyboards and dynamics plus the ginormous drum sound! The songs covered a wide stylistic spectrum from the full-on rock of Fight For Your Rights and the bluesy City Boy Blues to the 70s acoustic RYHTR and the lush Home Sweet Home.

When people write this album off as an 80s party record they're not paying attention. The only `party' tune is Smokin' In The Boys Room - and that's a cover! With the exception of We Need A Lover (which is a disturbing ode to gang sex) the lyrics explored mortality (Use It Or Lose It), civil rights (Fight For Your Rights), loneliness and dissatisfaction (City Boy Blues, Home Sweet Home), grim street realities (Save Our Souls) and the wonderful ode to cash Keep Your Eye On The Money. I don't recall Poison ever writing `Martin Luther heard the truth, the colour of our blood's the same' or `Don't look to Jesus to change the seasons, it's the American dream'.

Theatre Of Pain polarised the so-called metal community. For many `metalheads' the keyboards and trenchcoats were too much and they fled to the waiting arms of Metallica and Slayer. But for guys like me this was the best time to be a rock n roller. Albums like Theatre opened the doors to other ways of looking at music beyond the clichés that heavy metal loves to bestow upon itself. Obviously I have a romantic bias but this was a great time - my time.

I have to say I'm also a little cynical about the surrounding mythology of `Theatre' - the claims of drugs and general non-participation of the band and their consequent distancing of themselves from the album. I read everything I could get my hands on at the time and I seem to recall Tommy Lee in particular being very excited about the broad musical journey the band had embarked on. Similarly Circus magazine visited the band in the studio at the time of recording and were surprised to find the Crue very much in control, on top of their game, and the very antithesis of their public image. Obviously I wasn't there and can't say for sure but, well, just something to think about!

Ross Halfin says in a VH1 doco that the Crue's fanbase was (and is) the `American moron'. This seems such a shame to me, true or otherwise, because I think Motley Crue made interesting music and explored equally interesting ideas. Theatre Of Pain exemplified this period where rock/metal became much more than just amps and beer and tits. Time has obviously diluted the effect but in their day albums like this (or Blackie Lawless production opus `The Last Command' or even Ratt's first album) were really out there and different. Or maybe I'm kidding myself, but if I am that's why I love Theatre Of Pain!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on December 30, 2005
Format: Audio CD
After the sucess of Shout At The Devil and the stardom that followed, Motley went back into the studio and made themselves a sure hit with Theatre Of Pain. Great...only a few hundred problems....the band is thrashed from excessive touring....the band is seriously f*cked up from substance abuse....Nikki is doing heroin...Vince kills Hanoi Rocks drummer Razzle in a drunk driving incident...the list goes on and on. Motley Crue begin to self-destruct. Theatre Of Pain is a decent album. More radio friendly & now that the Boyz have become MTV icons with the Home Sweet Home video, these songs will be played into the ground. Smokin' In The Boys Room is a cool cover tune. Louder Than Hell, City Boy Blues, Use It OR Lose It & Save Our Souls are my favs. Some filler here. The household name that is Motley Crue has been fleshed out with this album and the ensuing world tour with Loudness opening for The Crue. Nikki OD's. Vince does his jail time. and off to rehab they all go before someone ends up planted in the ground. Could have been harder is what you'll be saying. After the perfection of Shout, its hard to follow up, especially when plagued by that many demons at once. Still a solid effort and a classic, just not perfect.

Dig it!
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on May 24, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Although this was the album that rocketed Motley Crue up to the top of the charts in 1985, I just can't get it. Considering its two predessesors are two of the greatest albums known to man, this one should be, too. But it's not. It is MUCH lighter and pop-oriented than Shout At The Devil, and it just doesn't have that Motley Crue sound that they used before and later. And also, this is some sort of a concept album I believe, but I just acn't get the concept. One song they are singing about gambling and money, they next they are talking about the the pains of going on tour. I just don't understand much of it. City Boy Blues, Smokin' In the Boys Room and Louder Than hell are great, but a lot of it is filler. If you are just a casual fan, stay away from this one.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 1, 2010
Format: Audio CD
I recently bought a new copy of this and man...did it bring back memories. I remember anxiously awaiting it's release back in the summer of 1985. I had discovered Motley right after Shout At The Devil came out. Theatre Of Pain was a big change from Shout....but it was EXCELLENT to the ears of this 15 year old headbanger. Tommy Lee actually taught me to play drums. It was on the dash of my buddy's car, but that's beside the point.
Listening to it now, of course it does sound kind of dated...as a lot of music from the 80s does. But those memories come rushing back when City Boy Blues first kicks in. Does it every time.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on January 28, 2006
Format: Audio CD
I was 15 when this came out. I eagerly anticipated its release, for SHOUT AT THE DEVIL was my Teenage angst statement to the world. I wanted to hear what the Crue had to say.

Honestly, At first it was completely dissapointing. A Ballad (Home Sweet Home), and not as heavy as it's predecessor. However, it grew on me, and I own it to this day. LOUDER THAN HELL, and TONIGHT (WE NEED A LOVER), saved this from total disspointment.

I give it 4 stars for the classic(ness) of it, however, it's not their heaviest effort. If you are looking for Raw metal, go to TOO FAST FOR LOVE..
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on June 28, 2002
Format: Audio CD
When you list the best Hard rock bands of the classic era, I mean
the top bands, you have a handful of groups that stand out. The bands that you have to love to be a classic metalhead. Zeppelin,Aerosmith,Sabbath,AC/DC,the Who,Purple,Van Halen,KISS,Cooper,the Stones. But the one "Hair band" that truely deserves a spot in this elite group is Motley Crue. I love all the hair bands and some of them are great, but Motley was the best of the 80's. They were not that great at songwriting,but then AC/DC aren't either. They were not as great a group of musicians as Van Halen, but The Stones couldn't play their way out of a wet paper bag. But greatness is measured in Legend, and Motley Crue have been the subject of some of rock's most infamous legends. This is their best album. It's not as rough as Shout at the devil, but it showed a band that had developed into a tight unit. They took their influence from Aerosmith, and Van Halen, and it shows here. This is a must for classic metal fans. This was what metal was like before Thrash and all that garbage took over. Buy it. You won't regret it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on August 19, 2002
Format: Audio CD
I bought this when albums were still being sold. I listened to this every day then all my albums got stolen. I just recently started getting all the albums I had, but in CDs. This is classic crue.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on June 7, 2005
Format: Audio CD
By the time it was 1985,the hair metal era was in full effect,and Motley Crue had managed to become one of the most successful bands of that era. After people had heard their debut albums "Too Fast For Love"(1982),and "Shout At The Devil"(1983)and Motley Crue had managed to get out of the two things they were being accused of(one being that they were trying to be too much like KISS,the other being that they got accused of being Satan worshippers)and they had dropped their makeup(even though they wore it in the video for "Smokin' In The Boys Room"),they put out a new CD in 1985,which they were hoping would be good and get them away from the bad images they had already gotten. Would that album be any good? Read on for my review of this:

This album,along with a few other Motley Crue albums(their self-titled grunge album with John Corabi on lead vocals,"Generation Swine",and "New Tatoo")is a "love it or hate it" album. The good news for The Crue when this album came out was not only had they stopped trying to be like KISS and were no longer accused of being Satan worshippers,every member of Motley Crue(Vince Neil,Nikki Sixx,Tommy Lee,and Mick Mars)lent their songwriting talents to this record-on "Too Fast For Love",Nikki Sixx and Vince Neil were the only members of The Crue who lent their songwriting talents to that record(Neil co-wrote two songs with Sixx,Sixx wrote all of the songs either by himself or with someone else)and on "Shout At The Devil",it was pretty much the same situation-except Vince Neil co-wrote more songs on the record and Mick Mars wrote one(Tommy Lee didn't co-write any on that record)but this album found Neil,Sixx,Lee,and Mars all showing the world the songwriting talents they had. As for the album,it wasn't bad,but it wasn't great either. The only throwaway on this record is "Use It Or Lose It",and the rest is pretty much 3.5 stars-the standouts on this CD are the lovely ballad "Home Sweet Home","Save Our Souls","Smokin' In The Boys Room"(not an original song by The Crue,a cover song),and "Keep Your Eye On The Money". The rest of this album is average,could have been better,and not as good as Too Fast or Shout,but a pretty good record that did a decent job that allowed people to stop going on that Motley Crue was trying to be like KISS(which may have been true,if You've read what their early stage shows were like and if You've seen the music video for "Live Wire" that appeared on Motley Crue's "Greatest Video Hits DVD")and it also got people to stop accusing The Crue of being Satan worshippers(I don't know if that was true for Vince Neil,Tommy Lee,and Mick Mars,but Nikki Sixx has admitted that that really was the situation for him).

All of Motley Crue's albums have been re-issued,and the special treatment for this record was including demos for "Home Sweet Home","City Boy Blues",and "Keep Your Eye On The Money",the alternate guitar solo/rough mix for "Smokin' In The Boys Room" and the instrumental rough mix for "Home Sweet Home",a drum piece Tommy Lee recorded in Cherokee Studios around that time, the CD is enhanced with the music video for "Home Sweet Home",and there are expanded liner notes. If You're new to Motley Crue,then this record will give you the wrong idea of their music,my recommendation is that if You're new to The Crue and you want to buy all of their albums,then buy this as a part of Motley Crue's "Music To Crash Your Car To:Volume One"(it is a box set that has this repackaged with bonus tracks and Shout,"Girls,Girls,Girls",and both the original version and the Leathur Original Mix of "Too Fast For Love")but either way,even though this is not Motley's best album,it does belong in the CD collection of all Crue fans.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on September 27, 2012
Format: Audio CD
Although far from perfect this album gets way too much guff from both members of the band and a certain percentage of the fans as well. First off, the cover art is awesome and Mick had a Kramer guitar with the cover art on it during this tour which was cool. You can see it in the video for Home Sweet Home. There are some really great songs on this album but I will admit, it could have been better. Stand out tracks are Louder Than Hell, Tonight(We Need A Lover), Use It Or Lose It, City Boy Blues, Keep Your Eye On The Money and of course, Home Sweet Home and their excellent cover of Brownsville Station's Smoking In The Boys Room. My biggest beef with this release is the production. I'm not sure who was more deaf, the band or Tom Werman.

In reality it's probably about a 3 or 4 star album but I have to give it a 5 just because a lot of fans trash talk it, as does Nikki Sixx. I think they tend to listen more with their eyes on this album than their ears.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 13, 2011
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
Motley Crue is the best!I am the biggest crue fan around and this is another excellent masterpiece by the Icons of hard rock!Mick Mars shows his versatility guitar wise on this effort with Vince,Nikki,and Tommy being as solid musically as ever.You have the greatest crue ballad of all time in Home Sweet Home along with the rockin Tonight(We Need A Lover) and Keep Your Eye On The Money.The best though which makes this the complete package is Louder Than Hell that is one of the best rock songs you'll ever have the pleasure of banging your head too.Then you have a sweet power ballad of how the world is on the edge of insanity with Save Our Souls.One more that stands out is Fight For Your Rights which is an awesome rock song for standing tall to fight for your freedom.All around a solid effort from the Crue that will rock you to the bone!Motley Crue Rules!!!1
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