“Lies of the Beautiful People” seems like it’s been on the radio for a long time, with the opening track and title track, “This is Gonna Hurt” not too far behind. I’ve been putting off buying Sixx AM’s CD for a while. But at $5 at Amazon.com for the mp3 download, how could I go wrong?
I knew that Nikki Sixx has been through some tough times with heroin and other addictions. I am glad that he is recovering and is able to therapuetically share his world experiences with us throgh his music and his books. I grew up as a child of the 80’s so am very familiar with his time with Motley Crue. However, I think that (as seems often to be the case) one addiction is traded for another. He seems to be a born-again Christian. Now, whether he always was and just refound his religious roots or was maniuplated in rehab to give everything to Jesus and God, I don’t know. I’m going on a track by track basis to make my case:
2. “Lies of the Beautiful People” – Grungy riffs with a hooky sound, like the Motley Crue of yore, marked the first single off the LP. Nothing overt here in the religious vein and seems to be a swipe at the Hollywood scene and perhaps the Music scene in general. Promises made and broken. Preaching one thing, but doing the thing they are supposedly against behind closed doors. Hmm, on second thought, perhaps it does have a politic-religious stance.
3. “Are you with me now” I can easily see this being the next hit single off the song. More hard rock, but has Top 40 pop radio crossover appeal. Lyrically, perhaps this is an ode to a friend lost, who died to early, perhaps of the very things that appealed to Nikki in his younger days.
4. “Live Forever” After a mellowing with the third track, this returns the listener to harder edge, might be using a drop D tuning. The rhythm and pace evokes running away, driving. Lyrics could be an ode to a love – but could be interpreted as a born-again Christian song – an ode to Jesus, per se. “when I woke up and wonderland had gone to hell.” A song after rehab, looking back, when he was young and thought he was invincible. “You make me want to Live forever” refers to the concept of the afterlife in Heaven in Judeo-Christian (and even Islamic) thought. “You give me a reason I can’t ignore.” Speaks to me as coming from something learned through Christian teachings and backbones of most rehab centers. However, given the continuing Vampire craze, I can see this ending up on as a tune on the Vampire Diaries if it hasn’t already.
5. “Sure feels Right” A markedly different tune that kicks mellow with an alt rock feel. Nearly a modern country song. But doesn’t have the fiddle so couldn’t be. Being in love – happy with life. “I don’t know what you’re doing to me, but it sure feels right” speaks of seeing Jesus. And about making the right choices to avoid the temptations of the “Hollywood vampires.”
6. “Deadlihood” – Back to a modern hard rock crunch. “It’s time to cut the cord and say goodbye” – effects on vocals. Leaving behind those who would drag him back down. Fighting temptation, by closing doors and moving on. Prominent snare keeps steady 4/4 beat through the verses. I can see this being a Hard Rock radio hit off this album. It could be interpreted as a breakup song – a woman could easily be seen singing this about leaving an abusive relationship.
7. “Smile” – A true ballad. Given the tone of the lyrics in the prior tracks, I easily visualize a Lifechurch.tv congregation (or similar type of mega-church with modern worship (i.e. with rock music) singing this. Could be about a woman, who is supportive, though, and might actually be with the line: “What’s an angel like you ever doing with a devil like me?” But could be referring to the concept of a guardian angel.
8. “Help is on the way” – Back to a hard crunch, but still light. Harkens back to a time when he was on rock bottom – crying for help, so that he did not die of an overdose. Song reminds you that Nikki Sixx was one of the lucky ones and is always still in recovery. A very personal song, clearly. “Everybody pray that help is on the way” – Philosophically a very troubling song. Don’t just pray – DO! If you are faced with a situation like this, call 911. Take them yourself to the ER if you are sober enough to drive. Care enough to get them to scientific help, even if you believe in God. A variation of an old Aesop more is “God helps those who help themselves,” but you can also find support in the Bible in Hebrews 4:16 “Let us . . . find grace to help in time of need.”
9. “Oh My God” – Quiet beginning opens with acoustic guitar. About getting priorities in order in your own life, and as a society. I don’t see this being a single with top 40 potential, but it is a good album song.
10. “Goodbye my friends” – “No remorse, no regrets.” Moving on with life? Or a suicide note? Not looking back, yes. Cliché guitar solo in the bridge. Leaving rehab? You would think that this would be the last track, but it is not.
11. “Skin” – Looking beyond the cover of the “skin” – about what Sixx is now – covered with tattoos and scars from his past. “Kill them with your kindness . . . Ignorance is blindness . . . They are the ones that stand to lose.” So true, so true. Ballad-type of delivery, which is perfect for the lyrics.
So, is Sixx A.M. a stealth Christian band? Tough call, especially without reading Sixx’s autobiographies. He does expose his life and heart in his music, and that comes across strongly. I do not thing that some of the songs I will be placing on heavy rotation in my daily playlist, but I do think it is a good album overall. I do think a Christian parent should not have any issues with their sons and daughters listening to this album. Nikki Sixx is more sincere that Stryper ever thought about being.
Listening notes: Downloaded as Mp3 album for $5 from amazon.com. Listened to on Altec Lansing speakers using Windows Media (latest updates) playback.