Career-best sensation from the wild men of rock.
Greg Moffitt 2009
The last great album from Los Angeles rockers Mötley Crüe is both their best-selling record and their finest collection of songs. The enormous success of this 1989 smash hit proved that they could still cut it, having cleaned up their act after years of drug-fuelled debauchery. The group’s reputation rested on the controversy generated by their outrageous antics and hard-living lifestyles, but Dr. Feelgood showed that the four-piece could perform as well as any of the hard rock giants of the day.
Hitting the top slot on the Billboard 200 album chart, Dr. Feelgood went one better than their previous album, 1987’s Girls Girls Girls, and went on to sell over seven million copies worldwide. Although temporarily free from drink and drugs, the band were never likely to start writing songs about cute kittens or flower arranging. True to form, Dr. Feelgood indulges in the same diet of sex, drugs and rock‘n’roll which fuelled each of its four predecessors.
Mötley Crüe haven’t always benefitted from polished production, but courtesy of studio legend Bob Rock (The Cult, Metallica, Bon Jovi) Dr. Feelgood boasts a punchy, powerful sound. The album spawned no fewer than five singles, all of which cracked the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The first of these – the title track itself – was the most successful, with the high-energy Kickstart My Heart and Same Ol' Situation (S.O.S.) following a similar raunchy groove. The ballads Without You and Don't Go Away Mad (Just Go Away) highlight the band’s sensitive side, such that it is.
Of the remainder of the album, Slice of Your Pie, Rattlesnake Shake, Sticky Sweet and She Goes Down are about as subtle as their titles suggest. They do, however, still stand up today. Up to this point, the band had struggled to deliver consistent albums, and Dr. Feelgood stands out as much for its lack of sub-standard padding as it does for its classic tracks.
Only the album’s final number, Time for Change, makes any attempt at poignancy. A mid-paced ballad praising the power of youth and the possibility of peaceful revolution, The Beatles or Bob Marley it is not, but it makes a change from simply glorifying unfettered decadence and hedonism.