SIXX A.M. – This Is Gonna Hurt (2011)
A soundtrack is available for almost every movie you have ever seen, but have you heard of a soundtrack for a book?
Sixx : A.M. was founded because of that simple concept by Nikki Sixx (Motley Crue) to promote his book ‘The Heroin Diaries: A year in the Life of a Shattered Rockstar’ back in 2007.
The book is a real life diary that Sixx kept in the worst year of his life, the year he was in the deepest of his heroin addiction and nearly died. It is a fantastic and terrifying ride through that moment in his life and the excellent music album complements the book in many ways that a soundtrack complements a movie.
Now in 2011, Sixx is publishing his second book “This is Gonna Hurt” also followed by a soundtrack of the same name.
This take on a different flow than ‘The Heroin Diaries’. The new one is part photo-album, part journal and it is a collection of photos that show you what is going through Nikki Sixx’s head.
Considering “This is Gonna Hurt” book and record as two separate entities is difficult and unnecessary, as Sixx AM have not put the album together for it to achieve musical recognition on its own merits.
So, what do you do with a soundtrack to a book you don’t have? Imagination is the key, together with a basic knowledge of its central character.
A soundtrack cannot usually be archived into a single genre: anything goes, from pop to classical and metal, supplying the background for different moments of the same story: “This is Gonna Hurt”’ is no exception.
Try playing the guessing game and matching every song to a key moment of Sixx ‘sex drugs and rock’n’roll’ relentless journey.
Sonically, the album is very close to the previous ‘Heroin Diaries’.
The songs follow the quiet verse/loud chorus hard rock/pop dynamic with ruthless precision; the infectious, soaring choruses are plentiful, and the few songs which eschew the formula follow the well-tested, tension-building style prevalent in theatrical rock.
The “rock n’ roll circus” idea, which has always played an important part in Motley Crue’s live shows, is brought to the fore as a musical theme on may tracks here.
Opener “This is Gonna Hurt” and the follower “Lies of The Beautiful People” are effective hard rockers with big guitar riffs and a dark, intimidating feel. Both tracks introduce you into Nikki’s rollercoaster ride; like ‘Final Destination’, where you suddenly know you’re on for a tragic ending but it’s too late to get off.
“Are You With Me” is an inoffensive but infectious radio rock brand which Daughtry and Nickelback call home. James Michael’s vocal performance is the song’s defining feature, elevating the relatively standard rock-pop arrangements with his expressive vocals.
“Live Forever” has a heavy riff and an anthemic, modern chorus. Again, a track with a darker vibe, check the lyrics: ‘close your eyes and try to count to seven, and if we die, I’ll meet you up in heaven…’.
“Sure Feels Right” turns drastically the style. This is a calm tune with a ‘feel good’ intention. You can take the boy out of Sunset Boulevard, but you can’t take Sunset Boulevard out of the boy.
“Deadlihood” has a dense verse but the chorus is pretty commercial and radiable. A modern rocker.”Smile” change the things again, it’s a mellow and melancholy acoustically based tune with clearly autobiographic lyrics.
U2 inspired “Oh My God” will raise some eyebrows with the fans; back to the guessing game, this feels like the soundtrack to a train journey, a fast transition our hero wasn’t necessary up for.
“Skin” is a great, piano only, tragically sad song. Certainly it comes as a surprise from a man who was given a second chance from the Grim Reaper and did so astonishingly good with it.
“This Is Gonna Hurt”, as the previous Sixx A.M. album, offers an eclectic mix of songs. The strong thematic link holds the album together despite the many shifts in style. It’s intense, dramatic, and although you don’t completely dig the music sound / style, worth repeated listens.
Guitarist DJ Ashba style is unique, with an extensive use of effect pedals and sonic textures. James Michael is no stranger to Nikki Sixx since Michael co-wrote several tunes on Mötley Crüe’s album ‘New Tattoo’. Besides being a fantastic songwriter, Michael has a distinctive voice.
Both deserves lots of credit for their important contribution to this material, which definitely gives the album extra layers.
This new Sixx : A.M. album successfully paints vivid pictures of the struggles and realizations of Nikki Sixx.
01 – This Is Gonna Hurt
02 – Lies Of The Beautiful People
03 – Are You With Me
04 – Live Forever
05 – Sure Feels Right
06 – Deadlihood
07 – Smile
08 – Help Is On The Way
09 – Oh My God
10 – Goodbye My Friends
11 – Skin
Nikki Sixx: Bass, Keys, Backing Vocals
DJ Ashba: Guitars, Effects
James Michael: Vocals
IF YOU LIKE IT, BUY IT!