Theatre of Pain(1985) captures Motley Crue at their most Glam moment. The band themselves are not shy in interviews to bash this album and they've been saying since forever that the power ballad "Home Sweet Home" was the song that saved the album (it's true that MTV picked up the video for the song and played it almost constantly back then and it was a big it for the Crue). The general opinion is that besides "Home" and the Brownsville Station cover of "Smokin' In the Boys Room" Theatre of Pain is a mediocre album. It's probably the worst Motley Crue album and it's certainly their less interesting out of all their 80's output (Too Fast For Love, Shout At The Devil, Girls, Girls Girls and Dr. Feelgood). By then Motley had gotten rid of their though leather image and switched to that of a more colorful, feminine, Glam one. The events surrounding Theatre were not the happiest and it's clear that the Crue was not at its highest point musically although they were commercially successful with this record. Nikki's heroin habits and Vince Neil's vehicle accident (which took the life of "Razzle" from the band Hanoi Rocks) and jail stint are bad memories for the band.
Originally "HOTTER Than Hell" (but it didn't make it on Shout), "Louder Than Hell" is a decent rocker but it's nothing truly special. "Keep Your Eye On The Money" is a filthy rocker and has a good groove/feel thing going on. It's certainly not a lyrical highlight of Nikki Sixx's career but it isn't half-bad and I think it works to a certain extent, I like it. Personally I think "Home Sweet Home" is an amazing power ballad and it may be the best of its kind recorded. It seems to me that after "Home Sweet Home" almost every band had a power ballad on their album and record companies pressured band to have one. "Tonight (We Need A Lover)" is probably the next best song on Theatre after "Home" and "Smokin'". The subject isn't very nice but I think it has a killer heavy riff and it ends up rocking much more than a good portion of the album. "Smokin' In The Boys Room" is a fun cover but as a reviewer said it's more of a novelty, even so it remains one of this album's strongest and most heavy songs. "Use It Or Lose It" is nothing special, a very average song with nothing going for it. The other tracks "City Boy Blues", "Save Our Souls", "Raise Your Hands To Rock" and "Fight For Your Rights" are sadly nothing terribly special either in my opinion.
In 1999 Motley Crue remastered their 1980's albums under the Crucial Crue editions titles. One thing those remastered editions did right was include demos, alternate version, live tracks and unreleased songs. It's always nice to have extra content for the fans who are buying this album, some for the second time or more. However the Crucial Crue edition of Home Sweet Home falls short on bonus content. I don't know why anyone would need so many versions of "Home Sweet Home" of which there are three on this Crucial Crue edition. It's cool to hear the demo and all (which is the best out of the bonus content) but I'm not sure we absolutely needed the instrumental version of the song. "Tommy's drum piece from Cherookee" shouldn't even be on here, it's just Tommy doing this simple beat not really demonstrating his full skills behind a kit. It doesn't go anywhere and is quite frankly boring. You will hitting the skip button soon enough believe me. We have also have two other demos. One for "Smokin' In The Boys Room" (which is not that different from the final version it says "Rough mix and alternate guitar solo"). The demo of "Keep Your Eyes On The Money" is a bit more different.
I don't hate Theatre of Pain but I'm being objective by saying it wasn't Motley Crue's finest hour. It has what is probably their biggest hit in "Home Sweet Home" but the band's other albums were much better than this. Although it was commercially successful, did well in the charts and was featured heavily on MTV it's not a "great" album and it has too much filler material and not enough actual substance. It's certainly not one of the best Crue albums even if there are some good songs. I loved Too Fast For Love and Shout At The Devil but I felt that this one was a let-down compared to those albums. I hate to seem like a critical person but Motley is one of my favorite bands and I really wanted to like Theatre more but my rating is 2 stars out of 5.