Soundtracks are ten a penny these days with every movie and TV show seemingly churning out an accompanying CDs. But how many times have you listened to the soundtrack of a book? In 2007 Mötley Crüe bassist Nikki Sixx, DJ Ashba and James Michael formed Sixx:A.M releasing a companion to Nikki Sixx’s book “The Heroin Diaries: A Year In The Life of a Shattered Rock Star”. The album was a great success and the band are back in 2011 with a second book soundtrack, this time to Nikki Sixx’s “This Is Gonna Hurt”.
The album starts really well with the first few tracks keeping up the pace and sound that featured in the first album. Eponymously titled track “This Is Gonna Hurt” is an excellent start with a good punchy pace and a rather cool chorus. First single “Lies of the Beautiful People” is also a very good song, and it’s here you begin to pick up one of the main lyrical themes of the album, that the ugly and grotesque are beautiful in their own way.
This theme is prevalent throughout the album as Sixx’s lyrics repeatedly tell you how you can’t judge a book by its cover and how everyone should be accepted regardless of their physical or mental debilitations. I can’t fault the attempts to get a message of acceptance to the masses, but at times veers toward the emo and eventually I got tired of being told how I should think.
I need to reinforce that from a musical standpoint there’s nothing emo about it. This is a pretty straight forward hard rock album which of course means that it comes with a couple of mildly cheesy ballads too. The focus here shifts to the clear love Sixx has for family and friends and his appreciation of them since surviving the early sex, drugs and booze filled days with Mötley Crüe . They are not quite Whitesnake power-ballad passion fist songs but do change the pace of the album quite dramatically.
Near the end of the album and placed oddly sandwiched between the hard rock and ballads comes one track “Goodbye My Friends” which I’m pretty convinced they nicked off Muse. It has this grandiose overblown feel to it that rivals Muse themselves and does a damn good job at it too. I’d love to hear Muse cover it just to see if the change in vocal makes it better or worse.
I have to say that despite listening to it several times over I still prefer to listen to “The Heroin Diaries”. Despite its themes, “This Is Gonna Hurt” lacks the passion and heartfelt truth of its older brother. It’s also not so well constructed as the former which had some book excerpts interspersed throughout it both as part of songs and as an introduction and closing. This lack of polish I think is what fails to take what is a good album make it great.
I feel like I’m concentrating on the negatives, but please don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy it and there are some good stand out tracks. The review is perhaps badly timed to write as I’m still reading the book and so maybe I’ll pick up more depth to the album as I did with its predecessor, but I decided to write it as a standalone piece concentrating on the album itself as I figure that the majority of listeners will never read the book. Maybe at a later date I will add a further opinion into how the album and book tie in together. “The Heroin Diaries” is undoubtedly enhanced by reading the book alongside it so I’m hoping that by the time I finish “This Is Gonna Hurt” I’ll appreciate it more.
Here is first single “Lies of the Beautiful People” as a sampler