Mötley Crüe’s debut Too Fast For Love was a rushed and sloppy mess, yet still a guilty pleasure. For their second album, the Crüe had the luxury of a major label budget (Elektra Records), and the resulting album, Shout At The Devil, saw them clean up their sound considerably (for better or worse). One noticeable difference was Mick Mars’ guitar tracks, which didn’t seem to have that same “one-take” quality as they did on Too Fast For Love. Additionally, a tight leash was evidently put on Tommy Lee’s wild drum style (his playing was dumbed-down considerably here). Shout At The Devil also showed the world Mötley Crüe’s new, quasi-Satanic image. Because apparently changing your image was like changing your underwear for a style-obsessed band like the Crüe. Nevertheless, Shout At The Devil definitely hit a nerve with the teenage public, and became a hit album that catapulted Mötley Crüe to mega-stardom.
I think pretty much everything on Shout At The Devil up to and including the track Red Hot is pretty good. That includes Shout At The Devil, Looks That Kill, Bastard, Helter Skelter, and Red Hot. The song writing (by Nikki Sixx) wasn’t great here, but good enough I guess. However, as the last part of the album comes around (with the tracks Too Young To Fall In Love, Knock ‘Em Dead Kid, Ten Seconds To Love, and Danger), I find myself a little disinterested. I guess it has become clear to me by this point that Nikki Sixx wrote a grand total of about six riffs for this entire album, and that Mick Mars’ sucked-dry guitar tone wasn’t going to show any signs of life (kind of like the corpse Mars himself). The real star of this album (IMO) was actually Vince Neil. His voice seemed to fit perfectly o’er the top of these bone-dry compositions. He had flair, and a voice that personified the Sunset Strip; that of an androgynous bad boy who didn’t give a crap about anybody. He was the guy the women wanted, and the guys wanted to be. In the end, I think Shout At The Devil (with the exception of Neil’s performance) got by largely on style over substance. Don’t get me wrong, Shout At The Devil rocks hard at times (walk into any strip bar in America and you’re bound to hear a few cuts from this album), but I feel in hind sight that this album is a bit overrated (don’t kill me). I think Shout At The Devil was fortunate to drop at the right time in history, a time when acne-faced teenagers in America were hungry for something new, something heavy, and apparently… something dressed in women’s clothes. Jeesh. My score: B+