The history of Michael Monroe and Hanoi Rocks is one of classic rock legend, tales of success and general degenerate rock n roll musical debauchery. Most have some memory and regard for Monroe's Eighties stuff, but he's had a major rennasiance in the last several years. With his bleached hair, gaunt corpse-like facial lines, and skinny anorexic legs, Monroe seems an unstoppable rock force. And why not, his new, 30th album, Blackout States is pretty darn terrific.
Having been raised on the radio and rock n roll by his father, Monroe remains a rocker at the core. There's nothing complex or trivial about his sound. It's always been loud, energetic, and enthusiastic party music. Bring on the chicks, sex, drugs and rock n roll. Monroe takes the essence of rock, meaning as early as the Fifties, passes it through punk and glam rock, tossed in some saxophone, and then stops by the Sunset Strip in 1987 to make it even more extravagent and outrageous. He often reminds me of what David Bowie would have sounded like if he stuck with Ziggy and Alladin Sane, aded d some Sex Pistols energy, and then went on to beat the shit out of his pathetic Berlin period before it started.
Basically then, Blackout States is non-stop rock n roll action. The pace is fast, or faster than punk as with R.I.F. or This Ain't No Love Song, with little pause to catch your breathe. Okay, so there's some mellowness, at the start with Keep Your Eyes On You, for instance, or within Permanent Youth, but even these songs give way nastier groove. I can't recall, but recollection says there wasn't a ballad on Horns and Halos; there's none here either. I guess Monroe and band said, "What the hell do we need a love song for? We'll get chicks the old fashioned way." Jesting aside, of all the rock n roll romping and mucking about, my favorite Monroe songs will always be those where he swings out that saxophone as with Good Old Bad Days and Permanent Youth. When he does that, for some strange reason, I'm reminded of the late Clarence Clemons. Odd? Maybe not so much. Once more, with Blackout States, Michael Monroe flys the flag of loud and rowdy, straight from below the belt, party rock n roll.
Once more, with Blackout States, Michael Monroe flys the flag of loud and rowdy, straight from below the belt, party rock n roll.
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