Sixx: A.M. - The Heroin Diaries Soundtrack
Record Label: Eleven Seven Music
Release Date: August 21, 2007
When I first heard Nikki Sixx of Motley Crue was going to be in another band, I immediately assumed it would be another hair metal band, singing about drugs and rock n' roll. I was half right, although the context that drugs were sung about was completely different from what I had in mind. The Heroin Diaries Soundtrack is obviously, the soundtrack to the Heroin Diaries. For those who may not know, it is the scrapbook-esque diary of bassist Nikki Sixx, with reoccurring topics like depression and addiction. As most may know, Sixx did heroin (and most likely every other drug), but reached an epiphany when he was almost killed by overdose. I am not here to give you his life story, but I do think that knowing a little bit of background helps further develop the emotional journey this album takes the listener on.
The Heroin Diaries Soundtrack starts off with introduction track "X-Mas in Hell." Right away, I was swept away by the deep perspective and emotion of Sixx as he narrates. "Now I've come down from the drugs/it seems like a sick play that I saw in a theatre somewhere" and "It's just me and you, diary. Welcome to my fucking life." I was also unprepared for the rock cover of Carol of the Bells that puts August Burns Red's version to shame. "Van Nuys" is a mediocre track not a standout, but not a filler. "Life Is Beautiful" is what got me interested in this band. The raw emotion in lead vocalist James Michaels voice keeps your attention, and while it is bordering (or perhaps crossed the line of) emo, it definitely has a powerful set of lyrics and meaning to it. "Pray For Me" reminds me of an INXS song (the one with ex-member JD Fortune). My interpretation would be that it is written to a mother-figure, who is desperately trying to stop Sixx's abuse of drugs. "Tomorrow" has an adequate (albeit repetitive) set of lyrics "You'll never outrun what waits for you tomorrow." It is one of the weaker ones, but it definitely has its place in this album.
Next up is "Accidents Can Happen," my favorite song on this album. It has a solid set of lyrics, fantastic raw vocals, and soothing/powerful guitar solo and is a great pick-yourself-off-the-ground-and-dust-yourself-up ballad, Although I normally hate intermission songs and regard them as a waste of space but, the creatively named "Intermission" is definitely worthy of its place. It starts of with Sixx narrating, and erupts into an orchestral masterpiece, complete with piano and wailing guitars faintly resembling the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. "Dead Man's Ballet" is a direct, confronting song about a hurtful father-son relationship. The only downside for me is the vocal styling's Michael's uses.
"Heart Failure" has the best narrations of the bunch, "but when you've tasted excess/Everything else tastes bland/Staring face to face with the demons/And not back down/Takes a constitution that most people just don't have." It's a powerful metaphor, comparing his life to being tied to a train track, seeing the incoming train. "Girl With Golden Eyes" reinstates his love-hate relationship with heroin. His addiction to it is so fervent; he refers to it as fondly as he would his lover. The narration is heart-wrenching and moving "My whole body feels like it's cracking into pieces/ Fragile doesn't even come close to describing how I feel." "Courtesy Call" paints a vivid picture, and is somewhat reminiscent of a short film. The song begins with the voice of a maid asking for entry to the hotel room for housekeeping; then, slow guitars kick in and one can almost picture Sixx passed out on the floor. The lyrics, although not exceptional, strikes a chord with the listener "Well, God is great and God is good/ But God didn't help me when he could."
"Permission" is the softest song with is a distinct, almost country-like twang in vocalist Michael's voice. There is sincere vulnerability and tranquil vocals," Well, I close my eyes/Remove each piece of armor one by one/Inhale this moment deep into my lungs/Make amends for all I've done." The Heroin Diaries Soundtrack ends with a bang. "Life After Death's" narrations are almost parallel to a story teller's "To expose the raw nerve endings of dysfunction so I can heal" "I turned it into my armor, my defense mechanism/And my weapon of self destruction." The last sentences he speaks are of self-realization and acceptance. "How I got there? That's a story told by many voice/It's not my job to blame anybody anymore/I just need to accept the path I was given." The album ends with a haunting children's choir and the last ring of the well-executed guitar solo left me wanting more.
All in all, this band would not disappoint any reader of the Heroin Diaries. The lyrical content has its ups and downs, but comes across in the end as spectacular. Guitar solos and drumming spiced up the album, but ultimately, it was the narrations that pieced it together. Sixx:A.M. is successful in painting vivid pictures of the struggles and realizations of Nikki Sixx.
I own both the book and the CD & I thought that the soundtrack didn't really go with the book. Even though I like the soundtrack, I thought that the book was way more intense and emotional. But then again, I guess some things you just can't rewrite.