August 14, 2000 12:00 PM

Mötley Crüe (Beyond)

The hoariest of the hair bands, Mötley Crüe makes a disingenuous return. Although vocalist Vince Neil, bassist Nikki Sixx and guitarist Mick Mars are all back, this present-day lineup simply ain’t the same old Crüe without the drumming of Tommy Lee, whose big, irresistible beat made the band sound more fun than mindless. Without the gleeful urgency of Lee’s pounding, the lads (with replacement drummer Randy Castillo) seem to have lost both their thunder and their self-deflating humor. Neil’s voice is as thin as worn spandex, and each track follows the same CLICK CLICK POW shotgun rhythm. The lyric beauty of “Girls, Girls, Girls” aside, the Crüe have never been bards of the profound. But they push the envelope of inanity here with tunes like the title track, which is meant to be a powerful romantic ballad about the permanence of love but by the end goes flat as a whoopee cushion. “Dragstrip Superstar” closes with the words “Dragstrip dragstrip/ Superstar superstar” chanted over and over for a full half minute. Despite the inherent self-satire of such odes as “White Punks on Dope,” “Fake” and “1st Band on the Moon,” Neil, alas, sings the title refrain of “Punched in the Teeth by Love” without a trace of irony. And it is hard to resist taking him up on the challenge of “Treat Me like the Dog I Am.” The new Crüe needs Lee’s swift kick.

Bottom Line: Crude

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