Label: Eleven Seven Music/EMI / Release date: 23rd May 2011
Sixx:A.M. - This Is Gonna Hurt - 70%
Nikki Sixx’s sideproject Sixx:A.M. saw the light of day back in 2007. Band’s debut album The Heroin Diaries Soundtrack was based on Sixx’ autobiography, The Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of a Shattered Rock Star and as such this band never really seemed like a “real” band. But then things started happening for them and the tour followed. Besides Sixx (Mötley Crüe), the band consists of DJ Ashba (now of Guns N’ Roses) and James Michael. The debut was surprisingly good and convincing record created by three very competent musicians.
And when the band announced that they will start working on their second album it somehow seemed wrong, because this Sixx:A.M. was just a project connected to Sixx’ biography.
But then the new project started taking a form and it was clear that this will not be The Heroin Diaries part 2 and that the new project is taking Sixx:A.M. in a different direction.
Sure, the album is again based on Sixx’s book entitled This Is Gonna Hurt, but this time around it’s the book is part photo, part journal. The theme behind the book/album is that of a focus on inner beauty rather than the outer beauty. For the most part it does so by trowing something, which not considered beautiful by conventional methods and show it in a different light.
The theme explored here is relevant, but it might be somewhat ironic that it comes from three fine looking gentleman known for their over consuming of (Baywach) actresses, models and porn stars. On the other hand this aspect makes it somewhat interesting and no matter where the message comes from it’s the message that is most important.
As for the album it has number of the same trademarks of the debut – it’s fairly simple rock record with big portion of energetic, catchy rock anthems and some rather soft ballads. The production and performance are once again just flawless. It’s at all times clear how good these three men are at what they do and it’s pure pleasure to experience the whole soundscape which is actually more complex then you’d think.
The songs are perhaps even catchier then on the debut and much like on the debut the lyrics are often simple and bordering on banal, but never really going too far. The lyrics deliver the main message effectively and simply, without being abstractly poetic. As they will appeal to the broader audiences, while at the same time delivering the message and trowing occasional razor sharp lines.
First four tracks are effective rockers in best vein of “Life Is Beautiful” and “Pray For Me” from the debut. Michael’s vocals are astonishing not only because he can sing just about anything, but also because he ads a big dose of credibility to the lyrics and ultimately to the whole album. Ashba’s guitar parts are catchy and dirty and there are plenty of fine Slash/Mars inspired leads on most of the album.
“Sure Feels Right” slows things down and it’s one of those L.A. anthems that makes you feel like you are right there in the middle of that daybreak car ride down the streets of L.A.
In the second part of the album the quality decreases, but fortunately the album ends on a positive note with theatrical, Muse inspired “Goodbye My Friends” and razor sharp, piano driven “Skin”.
With their sophomore release Sixx:A.M. have passed my expectations and created a fine piece of music, even thou it doesn’t reach the level of the debut.