October 7, 2014 Sixx:A.M. – Modern Vintage (Album Review)
Sixx:A.M., the band made up of, dare it be said, three greats. Greats, as in musicians, song-writers and producers—Guns ‘N’ Roses guitarist Dj Ashba; James Michael, who is a multi-platinum producer, song-writer and engineer; and finalizing the lineup, a man who needs no introduction, bassist, songwriter, author, Nikki Sixx. Sixx, Ashba, Michael, Sixx:A.M. are set to release their third full-length album on Eleven Seven Music, produced by J. Michael himself, and aptly titled, Modern Vintage.
Begun back in 2007, releasing an album as a soundtrack to Sixx’s book The Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of a Shattered Rock Star, Sixx:A.M. was not supposed to be a touring band, due to individual schedules, but went on the road in summer 2008 in response to overwhelming requests from fans of that first album, and launching the first “Cruefest” tour, featuring Papa Roach, Buckcherry and Mötley Crüe. The second Sixx: A.M. album, This is Gonna Hurt, was released in spring 2011, as another soundtrack for a book by Sixx of the same title. Three years later, these men came together once again to release Modern Vintage, this time with no book as partner.
The kick-off track, “Stars” is the second tune released off the album, which was a win for the band; it is just a fantastic opener with beautiful lyrics, like in the chorus “Do you want to see the heavens tonight, underneath those lights it would look so beautiful. Do you wanna see the stars before they fall?” Then there is the musical arrangement with stupendous playing that makes the song mesh so well. It is highlighted by Michael’s voice that bursts with attention demanding force. James Michael truly is without a doubt an underrated singer, he is usually behind the scenes, as a producer and songwriter, but for those hearing his voice for the first time, it can raise the goosebumps at how much one artists’ vocals can be so emotionally touching.
Immediately afterwards is the first single from Modern Vintage titled “Gotta Get it Right.” Musically this song is very different from previous tunes fans may be used to by Sixx: A.M. It has more of a pop feel, musically and it cannot really be compared with anything from the band’s musical past. This is simply because listeners have heard tracks full of serious topics that hit the heart through the band’s first two albums, but this song has a more fun, contemporary vibe to it. So far listeners seem split on the song with many liking the musical change and quite a few being dissatisfied. It definitely takes a few listens to get used to.
As the eleven tracks of Modern Vintage wind down “High on the Music” is a slower paced track, but at the same time has elements that will make it a fan pleaser when performed live, with interactions, such as the claps keeping up a beat throughout the verses. The song “Miracles” is another highlight, which could be enjoyment or raise questions of how they came up with a track like this one. It has a very disco/old school Motown feel to it, possibly reminiscent of an old Jackson 5 guitar riff, though the band mentions they were going for a more Bee Gee’s feel.
Summarized, Sixx:A.M. explains they experimented with newer sounds musically for Modern Vintage. It may be a surprise for those who were expecting a mixture of what was on their first two albums, but it is a welcomed change. Modern Vintage is a fun, let go of your sorrows, free spirit album. For some it might take a few listens to get used to the newer material, but they eventually will be sucked in and end up loving. CrypticRock gives Modern Vintage 4 out of 5 stars.