The Horns Up Top 10: Mötley Crüe

Morning, metalheads! Another Monday means another new edition of the Horns Up Top 10. And as we enter Week 2 of the Great Corey Butterworth Absence of 2014, we’re gonna go with another light, easy list. Because frankly, with me in charge of all the content while my co-host gets in touch with his German side, I need things that are light and easy right now. To that end, our Top 10 this week will cover the kings of Los Angeles sleaze themselves, Mötley Crüe!


Mötley Crüe’s always been a band I’ve enjoyed, I think, more than I probably should. As the ringleaders of an only “marginally metal” subgenre–one whose practitioners generally seemed more concerned with fame and pussy than, you know, actual musical integrity–you’d be forgiven for questioning their place on this blog. But the Crüe’s attitude always made them stand out for me (okay, maybe not lately)–you got the sense that Vince, Nikki, Mick and Tommy were both talking the talk and walking the walk as “bad boys” of hair metal. It’s that attitude that’s helped them hold up so well to this day, and that’s vaulted so many of their hits into the ranks of pop-metal classics.

…plus, you know…light and easy stuff this week, remember? So with all that said, here’s my Top 10 for Mötley Crüe:

“Kickstart My Heart” (from Dr. Feelgood, 1989)

Find me a better pump-up song than this–I dare you. That intro guitar lick that sounds like a revved-up engine? The INFINITELY catchy “whoa, yeah” gang chorus during the refrain? Mick Mars’ talk-box guitar solo? Put all these together and you’ve got one indisputable truth: “Kickstart My Heart” is a dose of pure adrenaline. (Nikki Sixx knows what I’m talking about there.)

“Piece of Your Action” (from Too Fast For Love, 1981)

It can be easy to forget that back in the day, the Crüe used to be pretty damn raw. And “Piece of Your Action”–a catchy, four-and-a-half minute kick in the ass–shows that perfectly. “Live Wire” may be generally better acclaimed among the fan-base, but to me, it’s always seemed like the band was trying a bit too hard on that track. “Piece” just doesn’t give a fuck, and so for me, it takes the cake.

“Too Young to Fall in Love” (from Shout at the Devil, 1983)

I can’t listen to this song and not think of all of the time I spent playing Grand Theft Auto: Vice City in middle school. (V-ROCK ALUMNI FOR LIFE) But unlike many of my nostalgia hits, “Too Young to Fall in Love” actually stands on its own. With a great riff, a great solo, and a generally solid vocal performance from Vince Neil–which this album’s title track, as much as I love it, simply can’t say–this thing’s got all I need.

“Wild Side” (from Girls, Girls, Girls, 1987)

I’m sure a lot of people would have taken this album’s title track first, but that one’s always felt a little TOO sleazy for me. “Wild Side’s” less trashy, but no less anthemic, and its main refrain is as catchy as anything in the Crüe’s catalogue.

“Hell on High Heels” (from New Tattoo, 2000)

Given some of this list’s omissions, “Hell on High Heels” might come as something of a surprise here, but I’ve always loved it. After two disastrous experiments–1993’s self-titled album and 1996’s Generation Swine–here, at last, was a song that sounded like Mötley Crüe again. Set aside your thoughts on the rest of New Tattoo–I certainly have mine–and it’s hard to see this thing as anything but an ass-kicker.

“Sick Love Song” (from Red, White and Crüe, 2005)

Another nostalgia pick here. While even 10th grade Dan–completely nuts about anything and everything 80s metal–could see the band’s first reunion single “If I Die Tomorrow,” for the misguided piece of shit it was, he loved the hell out of the follow-up, “Sick Love Song.” Almost 10 years later, it still kicks an ass.

“Dr. Feelgood” (from Dr. Feelgood, 1989)

If you took me up on my “Kickstart My Heart” pump-up challenge, you probably wouldn’t win. But if you came back with “Dr. Feelgood,” you’d come close. Five minutes of pure badassery, and easily one of the Crüe’ top five riffs ever.

“Primal Scream” (from Decade of Decadence 81-91, 1991)

GAHHHHHHHH, THAT SLIDE GUITAR. This non-album single’s got all the swagger of the Crüe’s biggest hits and all of the killer riffage to boot. Throw in the absolutely killer gang chorus and “Primal Scream” becomes a no-brainer for this list.

“Saints of Los Angeles” (from Saints of Los Angeles, 2008)

Another post-1990 Crüe song on this list? Yep. I’ll admit to not being all that nuts about this reunion album, but six years later, the title track remains catchy as all hell. On too many occasions over the years, the Crüe swung and missed in trying to paint their sound onto a darker, more modern-sounding canvas. But on “Saints of Los Angeles,” they smacked it out of the park.

“Shout at the Devil” (from Shout at the Devil, 1983)

This one shouldn’t need any explanation. It’s a Mötley Crüe list, and therefore it has “Shout at the Devil” on it. Ask me which version and I will punch you in the face. As far as I’m concerned, there is only one version, and 1997 is a black hole on my memory that may as well not exist. REAL “Shout at the Devil” or GTFO.

The Horns Up Top 10 on Spotify

That’ll do it for this week’s Top 10! As always, leave suggestions for bands you want to see covered in future editions, and check back later on for Quickies!


Live. Love. Plow. Horns Up.