The Good, the Glam & the Ugly: Record reviews and other unnecessary bullshit by t.Odd
Thank god for Twitter! Why? Because “Metal Dave” over at http://2fast2die.com/ tweeted a link to this fucking awesome new Michael Monroe video a few days ago, which in turn inspired me to check-out his new record, which is so fucking good I had to start this review before I even finished listening to it!
The sad fact is that even though you’re reading this on Metal Sludge, you may not know who Michael Monroe is. That’s ok, it’s not TOTALLY your fault! Michael Monroe was the lead singer of Hanoi Rocks, a fucking AMAZING early 80’s Glam band from Finland that received pretty much ZERO airplay in America. They were on the verge of breaking through in the US, until December 8th 1984, when drummer Razzle was killed in a car crash that was being driven by a drunk Vince Neil. Talk about taking out the competition! Hanoi broke-up soon after and Michael went solo.
Hanoi Rocks in 1984
Tragic as it was losing Razzle, it was a musical tragedy that Hanoi never made it big in the US, while bands like Motley, Poison etc… sold millions with far less talent or quality songs. Michael Monroe was (and still is) the best frontman in the history of Glam/Rock/Metal/Emo or any other genre that involves energy and eyeliner! On his worst day he could destroy the likes of Axl Rose, Vince Neil, Bret Michaels, Sebastian Bach, even the mighty David Lee Roth, and most of them will admit it! And if you take a look at the 2013 versions of those “stars” there’s a whole shitload of fat belly’s, bald heads, missed notes, and substance abuse problems. Michael Monroe on the other hand still looks, performs, and sounds like a million bucks! Dudes a fucking star in every way.
Artist: Michael Monroe
Record: Horns and Halos
1st impression of the CD:
I bought the record on Itunes so no CD or booklet, but you can get all kinds of cool shit from his website http://www.michaelmonroe.com/site/
Young bands (and old) take note, Michael Monroe looks like a proper rock star should, and he’s over 50 fucking years old! His band features a crew of “aging” rockers like Dregen (Backyard Babies) and Sam Yaffa (Hanoi Rocks) and they all still look good. I hung out with Dregen in 2001 in London when Stacy Starr and I flew out for a Sigue Sigue Sputnik reunion show, and he was cool, but I think he was more interested in the blow we had than anything else! Do they not have McDonalds and beer in Europe? How do these guys stay so thin while American bands get so fucking fat, even though they do tons of blow and speed??
“TNT Diet”: High energy opening track, guitar riff has a “Nice Boys” (GNR/Rose Tattoo) type vibe. Sets the tone for the record.
“Ballad of the Lower East Side”: Fucking AMAZING track #1 on the record! A biographical tale of NYC from the 80’s to now through Mikes eyes. Sonically sounds like Hanoi Rocks, The Clash, and Social Distortion… doesn’t get any better than that! It’s like a glam NYC version of “Story of My Life” by Social D. Fucking amazing! Great lyrics and Awesome video here too.
“Eighteen Angels” – Bluesy guitar riff with a bit of a funky bass line. Cool song, but not one of my favorites on the record. Almost a dirty “Young Americans” by David Bowie vibe.
“Saturday Night Special” – Another fast bluesy tune, very old-school Hanoi Rocks.
“Stained Glass Heart” – Ahhhh, the song that started it all! (This review that is). Fucking amazing, that’s all I can say. The opening riff of this song reminds me of a song by the band Killingbird, but as you’ll see in my review of “Don’t Block the Sun”, it’s Michael Monroe’s world, we’re just living in it! It’s catchy, has a brilliant chorus, awesome lyrics, killer video… it’s basically a PERFECT song in my book! It’s a fucking CRIME that this song isn’t getting played on every “Rock” radio station in America! The “whoa whoa whoas” at the end even have a bit of a “Purple Rain” by Prince meets U2 vibe. I know what I’ll be listening to over and over for the next few months!
“Horns and Halos” – Title track, probably one of the heaviest on the record. Chorus has a punk vibe, cool track.
“Child of the Revolution” – Fucking AMAZING track #3! Classic Glam riff ala The Sweet, chorus almost has a modern vibe of “Children of the Revolution” by T REX. Love this song!
“Soul Surrender” – Opens like a punk song, then breaks down into a funky vibe, then goes back for the throat in the chorus. Cool arrangement.
“Half the Way” – This one could have been on Mikes 89’ solo album “Not Faking it”. Chorus is killer!
“Ritual” – A bit slower tempo, but definitely not a ballad! Has a Billy Idol “White Wedding” feeling, gets better with each listen!
“Hands Are Tied” – Opening riff is kinda “Cat Scratch Fever”ish, keeps the funk going throughout, cool but not my favorite.
“Happy Never After” – Starts out a bit blah, but the chorus kicks ass! Guitar solo is great too, love the fucking guitar and vocal melodies on this record!
“Don’t Block the Sun” – Wait a minute, I KNOW this guitar riff because I wrote it! Sounds VERY similar to The Mistakes song “Tomorrow” (Dressed for Suckcess version)! Take a listen then compare it to this!
I know, I’m a bit delusional thinking Michael Monroe would rip me off, but a man can dream can’t he?? As far as the song, I fucking love it! Another mid-tempo melody monster that is officially Fucking AMAZING track #4 on the record!
Wait a minute. I’ve listened to this song at least 50 times in a row now, and it’s officially the best song on the record! Maybe its personal, but the irony of this song starting with a riff similar to my song “tomorrow” that exemplifies success and change has not gone unnoticed. In a parallel universe somewhere, THIS is the “sequel” to Tomorrow! And it’s perfect! I bet Chris Wilson can’t even hate this version!
4 Fucking AMAZING songs to buy on itunes and add to your “Michael Monroe rules the world” playlist: “Ballad of the Lower East Side”, “Stained Glass Heart”, “Child of the Revolution” “Don’t Block the Sun”
I’ve been sick as fuck for 2 weeks, and it’s cold and pouring rain outside, but a little pneumonia and shit weather don’t stand a chance against this record! This record does what music did for me as a kid, makes me forget about all the fucking bullshit I’m dealing with in my daily life and takes me to another place, a place where life is about having fun and being yourself, and telling ANYONE that says otherwise to FUCK OFF! Man I needed this record! Thanks Mike!
As for you wonderful reader, now that you know all about Michael Monroe, go buy this record, all his other solo records and all the Hanoi Rocks records! If you love music like me it’ll be like being the first one to discover that great new band before anybody else back in High School!
Halos & Sludge