Generation Swine

This is what you might get when you put rock stars in a studio and give them creative freedom.
Today it's 20 years since the release of Generation Swine, the triumphant return of Vince Neil to the lines of Mötley Crüe. As much as I liked their output in the 1980s -- from Too Fast for Love to Dr. Feelgood -- I very much think the 1990s were a strong period musically for them, with Vince doing good stuff on his own (Carved in Stone is the better one of his solo albums) and the rest of the band creating a not bad at all album with new singer John Corabi.

Right from the cover, you can see this album was trying hard to stay current, just cover the band logo and imagine the word Ministry instead. And what's inside is probably among the most interesting stuff the Crüe ever put down on vinyl.

Commercially, this album more or less failed just as hard as the self-titled album before it, and this pushed the band into a U-turn into good old sleaze/glam on the following New Tattoo album and the nostalgia tours that seem to be the fate of every successful band. Too bad, but I guess rock stars have to eat, too. Not to mention all those other expensive habits... could it be that some drugs were involved, and maybe a wish to emulate the Beatles 30 years prior, releasing Sgt. Pepper? One thing is for sure, this album wasn't going to start another "summer of love".

Lyrically, there's among other topics a bit of drugs (Find Myself), women not having the best time of their lives (Afraid, Beauty), suicidal thoughts (Flush), a look through the eyes of the Devil (Let Us Prey), and a look at him from the outside (Shout at the Devil). Nothing too special, but I find it a bit funny that the best lyrics might be in that last one, as it is a remake of an early hit by the band. Oh well, this band was never much of a collection of poets...

Musically, there's a sprinkling of punk and a lot of synths and effects. You never know what's coming next, but the experimentation doesn't go overboard; each song is kept somewhat coherent. Some tasty guitar solos are available, but not nearly on every track, as one would've expected back in the glammier years. Most riffs are metal, rather than bluesy, and delivered with a convincing amount of aggression. And when the mood turns a bit more mellow, as in the synth-based "Glitter" or "Brandon", complete with string backing, the listener gets a well deserved break.

All things considered, an underrated album.

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