One of the most highly-anticipated Netflix movies this year, for me anyway, is The Dirt, based on the best-selling Mötley Crüe autobiography. Of course, to coincide with any movie, there should be a soundtrack. Well, since Mötley Crüe is a band, it’s only appropriate their music be the basis of the movie’s soundtrack.
The Dirt Soundtrack is full of Crüe classics that many of us grew to love, including four brand new songs the band recorded for the movie. According to bassist Nikki Sixx, watching the filming of the movie got the creative juices flowing, which led to reuniting with his former bandmates, and once they got into the studio, the magic returned. Mötley Crüe went into retirement, performing their last show on New Year’s Eve 2015, but Vince Neil, Mick Mars, Nikki Sixx, and Tommy Lee all agreed that it was fun to get back in the studio together to record these four new songs, only proving they still got it!
The soundtrack kicks off with a new song called “The Dirt (Est. 1981)” featuring Machine Gun Kelly, who plays Tommy Lee in the movie. If you ask me, “The Dirt (Est. 1981)” picks up right where the Crüe’s last album, Saints of Los Angeles, left off. It actually sounded like a song that was left off of that album. This soundtrack was off to an amazing start.
Songs two through fifteen were basically a “Greatest Hits” record, with “Red Hot” from the Shout at the Devil album, featuring some of the best drumming from one my favorite rock drummers of all-time, Tommy Lee. “Red Hot” would be followed by some of my most loved Mötley Crüe songs—“On With The Show,” “Live Wire,” “Merry-Go-Round,” “Take Me To The Top,” and “Piece of Your Action”—all off of the band’s classic debut, Too Fast For Love, which the band originally released themselves on their own record label, Leathur Records. That was until A&R rep Tom Zutaut from Elektra Records realized that these kids sold so many records on their own, it was time to give them a chance.
Next up were “Shout at the Devil,” “Looks That Kill,” and “Too Young Too Fall In Love” off of the album the band actually considers their first major record recording, Shout at the Devil. This is the record that really put Mötley Crüe on the map and these are the three songs that really catapulted the Crüe into a new musical echelon. Then there was the song that put Mötley Crüe over the top: my all-time favorite song, “Home Sweet Home.” The video for this song in 1986 broke records on MTV (when they used to play music videos). I remember calling MTV and voting for “Home Sweet Home” every week on “Friday Night Video Fights.” Yes, I’m that old!
The next songs on the soundtrack came from two of the Crüe’s most successful, chart-topping records—the title track to Girls, Girls, Girls, the song that became the anthem for every strip club in the world, followed up with “Same Ol’ Situation,” “Kickstart My Heart” and “Dr. Feelgood,” off of the band’s first and only #1 Billboard record, Dr. Feelgood. To this day, I can still listen to this album from beginning to end and still enjoy every nuance of it, from the music to the lyrics, and even Vince Neil’s voice. I put Dr. Feelgood up there with some bonafide classic rock albums like Appetite For Destruction, Ten, Led Zeppelin (IV), Skid Row, and Kiss Alive. That’s just my opinion, as a rock fan.
As I got to the other three new songs, “Ride With The Devil,” “Crash and Burn” and a cover of the Madonna classic “Like A Virgin,” I tried to listen with an open mind, and with “The Dirt (Est. 1981)” being so good, my expectations were high. I am saying this as one of the biggest Mötley Crüe fans on the planet: these three new songs fell flat. “Ride With Devil” sounded like a cheapened, garage version of Mötley Crüe. Why they had to bring back the hook—“Just give me the dirt”—into this song made no sense. Normally, I love Nikki Sixx’s songwriting, but “Crash and Burn” seemed thrown together, as if they recorded the song on a first-take in the studio while they were tracking. And then there was the cover of Madonna’s “Like A Virgin,” which I didn’t totally hate—I’m just wondering why they covered it. Of all the songs to cover, the “Bad Boys of Rock ‘N’ Roll” decided to cover Madonna’s “Like A Virgin.” I don’t get it.
At a minimum, we got another new collection of hits out of The Dirt. I really wanted to love these new songs, and I know the band had fun recording them, but I would have been happy with just “The Dirt (Est. 1981)” and the classic songs. But thank you, Mötley Crüe, for putting out this movie documenting your lives, and I will always thank you for new music, whether I love it or hate it.