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Articles Home » 2007 Articles » Sixx:AM - 2007 The Heroin Diaries Soundtrack
 
Sixx:AM - 2007 The Heroin Diaries Soundtrack



ARTIST: Sixx:AM
ALBUM: The Heroin Diaries Soundtrack
LABEL: Eleven Seven Music
SERIAL: ESM 173
YEAR: 2007

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Nikki Sixx - bass, backing vocals * James Michael - lead vocals, rhythm guitar, drums, keyboards, programming * DJ Ashba - lead guitar, backing vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Xmas In Hell * 02 Van Nuys * 03 Life Is Beautiful * 04 Pray For Me * 05 Tomorrow * 06 Accidents Can Happen * 07 Intermission * 08 Dead Man's Ballet * 09 Heart Failure * 10 Girl With Golden Eyes * 11 Courtesy Call * 12 Permission * 13 Life After Death * 14 Life Is Beautiful

WEBLINKS: www.sixxammusic.com


Background
The only puff I've ever had was puff pastry or maybe a puff on my inhaler or the odd ciggie over the fields in my early teens, so it is safe to say I haven't experienced the lows that Nikki Sixx reached. You see the UK Prime Minister has had the odd smoke, well he went to university didn't he, and if I am feeling daring, paracetamol usually helps, so I am not best placed to say whether this album is a genuine representation of the depths you can reach using various substances. This is Nikki Sixx's haunted heroin diaries; it provides evidence of the time, which his lifestyle wasn't all that cracked (!) up to be. Rock was supposed to be fun, parties etc. But this album explains the bleak side, the addictions, the loss of Robbin Crosby, the Ratt guitarist, as one piece it provides a sobering thought. Quite possibly, one the of the best concept albums that wasn't meant to be? Or even gets described as one. The songs here benefit from the use of narration, provided by Nikki (I assume) and makes it more than just a music album; it also has the feel of an audio book. It took me a while to fully appreciate this album, and if you asked me sixx(!) months ago it would rank nowhere near compared to 'This Is Gonna Hurt', (see the 2011 article, shameful plug). But with the release of the third album 'Modern Vintage' in 2014, which turned out to be a small disappointment, (but maybe I should give it more time) I reached for this album out of my music library and played it again.


The Songs
'December 25th, 1986 Van Nuys', is the brief narrative opening to 'Xmas Is Hell', mixed with an orchestral explosion, it's critical to the story.

The beautiful piano intro to 'Van Nuys', making reference to the location of his home, just as well it wasn't Rushden, Northamptonshire, it has the defining lyric of 'everyone's eyes are blue', which dominates and provides the hook that is immense. That lyric, that hook, the narration means I love this tune, this is one of the best Sixx has written since my mum's fave Crue tune, 'Too Young To Fall In Love'.

Unknown to me, the track 'Life Is Beautiful' scored big in the US, while scored zero in the UK, the acoustic guitar with returns throughout the song, melts into a bastard (!) of a riff and drum hit.

The Robbin Crosby funeral provides the chilling lyric of 'nothing like a funeral to make you feel alive', and as much as I like Vince Neil, he isn't a patch, vocal wise on James Michael. Nikki Sixx must feel like opening a pencil case and finding an extensive range of coloured pencils, all sharpened to a point.

The most classic Crue riff would be unearthed on 'Pray For Me', but the dark stirring vocals has more of a link to Jane's Addiction, then falls into the blooming of the melodic 'Tomorrow', best described as a drunken version of Train and Matchbox Twenty serenading under a flicking light, but still has that rock edge.

You would be lead to believe that AOR bands are the masters of ballads, well that myth goes up in smoke, dry your eyes boys because 'Accidents Can Happen' is now my number one, even trumps Journey. It's beautiful, it's emotive, it screams pain but provides the comfort, its stirring, and it questions but still provides answers.

'Intermission' is genius, again narrative, plus the amusement park frightening soundtrack, it's at this point with the aid of an iPod that I finally appreciate the latter half of the album (listening to this at work, has improved my productivity levels for sure). The blistering family crises of 'Dead Man's Ballet' shows us all that we really never grow up and rocks fragileness and life's bitterness rolled into one rock symphony.

The narrative is excellent, it really sticks the whole trip (or should I say Matthew Trippe.. remember that!) together; just think of it, they were the drug scouts of America.

'Heart Failure' is brutal; no dancing girls here, no pink spandex, a gruelling rock exorcism, just a connection to the latter day Alter Bridge, the song obviously provides linkages to the Japanese train episode. The heartfelt but stalker feel of 'The Girl With the Golden Eyes' is stunning, 'she speaks to me in Persian', and probably the best interaction with Nikki's narrative comes towards the end of the album, 'the parasites are panicking'.

'Courtesy Call' is a continuous hospital documentary, a dream, but really a nightmare you can't wake up from, a reflective calm seems to prevail over the album, before waking up and finding out the nightmare is real, a great album track.

'Permission' and 'Life After Death', extend the story and become bit of an epilogue at the end, and at the same time, the beginning.


In Summary
Just think, like some many in the past, Mercury, Bolan, yes even Kurt, if Sixx had gone the same way, then this would have never been heard. Brutally honest or just showmanship? I might be easily led, but I'm taken in by the whole story and experience, the diaries, the soundtrack. I have found this to be a brilliant piece of work; so was your Xmas hell? And know you find yourself with no money to buy something new? Well go through your collection and do two things. Either discover a gem that's already there and write about it, or sell one of those cds you never play and pick up this one up. I found this album truly compelling. I have always been a firm believer in Motley Crue, I still wear the t-shirts, even had a birthday cake fashioned on the artwork to 'Theatre Of Pain', but listening to many of their latter albums, I didn't realise how predictable and just unexciting they sound today. Look, the best way to sum up the trio of albums released under Sixx Am, is that they are albums to think about not albums solely to swing around a metal pole to.


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