Sixx:A.M. – The Heroin Diaries Soundtrack (2007, Eleven Seven Music)
1. “X-Mas in Hell” … 2:10
2. “Van Nuys” … 3:52
3. “Life is Beautiful” … 3:35
4. “Pray for Me” … 4:14
5. “Tomorrow” … 4:05
6. “Accidents Can Happen” … 4:07
7. “Intermission” … 2:20
8. “Dead Man’s Ballet” … 5:25
9. “Heart Failure” … 4:58
10. “Girl With Golden Eyes” … 4:20
11. “Courtesy Call” … 4:41
12. “Permission” … 4:14
13. “Life After Death” … 3:02
James Michael – Lead Vocals, Rhythm Guitar, Keyboards, Drum Programming
DJ Ashba – Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals
Nikki Sixx – Bass, Backing Vocals
I picked this one up the first day of its release just because it was Nikki Sixx and he’s been one of my favorite “rock stars” and song writers for a long time. Nikki has often dabbled in side projects (58, Brides of Destruction) so it was no surprise when it was announced that a “soundtrack” album would be coinciding with the release of his autobiography The Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of a Shattered Rock Star. Each song represents a chapter in the book, and the book (if you couldn’t tell already by the title) documents Nikki’s drug problems and focuses on his life from December ’86 to December ’87.
This album could’ve easily been released and forgotten, something that only Crue fans would even have a passing interest in, but something really cool happened — the lead single “Life is Beautiful” took off at rock radio and eventually hit #2 on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock charts and album sales currently sit at 200,000+! It’s always feels good to see good music appreciated and I was really happy for Nikki over the success of this album. As soon as I heard “Life is Beautiful”, I knew that if it actually was able to get some support and onto radio, it would be a hit. It’s the album’s best song and James Michael’s vocals soar (he sounds just like this live as well).
All acknowledgment doesn’t fall to Nikki though. Even though this album was based on his life and book, it’s very much a band project. Nikki Sixx, DJ Ashba and James Michael (Sixx:A.M.) all worked together, co-producing and co-writing and the result is a modern hard rock album with touches of pop radio friendly songs (“Accidents Can Happen”). This is definitely NOT something similar to Crue, and that’s a good thing.
Some songs fall short with me, there’s kind of a twisted carnival sound to a few songs like “Intermission”, “Life After Death” and the opener “Xmas in Hell”. All feature Nikki Sixx narrating an entry from his diary and then it becomes like a demented version of Trans-Siberian Orchestra. So I don’t care much for those songs and then my other gripe is there too many ballads.
I was a little disappointed by this release because I think it tries to be too theatrical at times, but it is a decent enough modern rock release that shows a lot of promise for the follow up.
Highlights: “Life is Beautiful”, “Pray for Me”, “Tomorrow”, “Accidents Can Happen”, “Courtesy Call”