When Nikki Sixx took us all by surprise with his amazing book and companion soundtrack The Heroin Diaries many thought it might be a flash in the pan. Now he and his band Sixx AM have returned with a second effort that in many ways is superior to their debut. This Is Gonna Hurt picks up where they left off with the last effort but this time Nikki provides us with the music to compliment his photo essay book of the same name. Although I have not seen the book yet it is a soon to be purchase for sure as this album provides an intriguing look at the world around Sixx and his unique perspective of it.
It will come as no surprise that this disc is a much more melodic and lighter sound than he creates in his day job with Motley Crue. Musically they have not moved too far from what we enjoyed on the last album but there is a few moments where they take you in a different direction. One is where he does for Los Angeles what Kid Rock did for Michigan with his song "All Summer Long". "Sure Feels Right" is a slow country tinged ballad that works in much the same way as Rock's piece. It is a change of pace for Sixx AM but you feel as if you are in the passenger seat as they take you on a tour of their base of operation. This is in stark contrast to the vision of Hollywood they deliver on the anthem like rocker "Lies Of The Beautiful People".
Sixx has chosen wisely with James Michael to be the voice of his vision. His vocal talents are given plenty of room to shine and he does on every level. From the tender moments to the heaviest, James delivers another stellar performance. As long as I am passing out kudos it would be wise to mention that the guitar work of D.J. Ashba is outstanding. This trio is able to combine their talents in a way that compliment each other but yet give each the canvas on which to showcase their abilities. This is a tight trio where the chemistry is obvious and what makes this a dynamic album.
There seems to be a few songs that might have been leftovers from their previous outing. "Help Is On The Way" sure sounds lyrically like it belongs on The Heroin Diaries as does "Goodbye My Friends". Even the powerful and haunting piano ballad that closes the disc "Skin" seems more autobiographical but I will have to wait until I get my hands on the book to know for sure.
Once again Sixx AM has come up with a winner. A terrific blend of anthem like rockers mixed with a couple ballads and a few surprises. No worries about a sophomore jinx here. They continue to deliver and I am sure there is at least a few songs on this album we will be hearing on the radio all summer. It is a very welcome addition to the collection and will be on my annual best of list for sure.
1. This Is Gonna Hurt
2. Lies Of The Beautiful People
3. Are You With Me Now
4. Live Forever
5. Sure Feels Right
8. Help Is On The Way
9. Oh My God
10. Goodbye My Friends