The first time I listened to this Motorhead Greatest Hits album I did not like it. I bought it at FYE when they were doing a “Buy 1 used CD get 1 50% off.” Because they don’t have the greatest selection of used CDs, and because I liked “Ace of Spades” and “Brave New World” but had a complete ignorance of any other songs by the band, I went ahead and got it. Then I uploaded it to my MP3 player and let the tunes fly.
I don’t want to say I hated it, but listening at work was obviously not the correct venue for this album. We’re only allowed one earbud in at a time for safety reasons and I really couldn’t give the tunes the proper attention while coiling rubber products into boxes.
But before I sold it back I wanted to give it one more spin. This time in my car. THAT, my friends, is the correct place to listen to Motorhead. The sound of Motorhead isn’t really anything groundbreaking. They’re a pretty typical heavy blues-based rock band with a few punk tendencies. But somehow their music smells like used motor oil, cigarettes and stale beer. The perfect place to listen to them would be in your garage under the hood of some really cool car. Barring that listen to them while you work on your 1999 Ford Taurus.
Upon first listen most songs sound the same, but after a few road trips I can now tell about 43% of the songs from each other. “Bomber” has a great catchy lyric that I can almost make out. “Please Don’t Touch” is my favorite track because hearing Lemmy in the role of sex symbol makes me feel that there is a chance for all dirty young punks out there. Plus it contains the great line “Oh I remember the first time I took her to a cheap motel, Well I woke up drunk, you know I felt like Eskimo Nell.” If that isn’t brilliance I don’t know what is. “No Class” starts off with a “Tush” type riff. Then they go into the Kingsmen’s song “Louie Louie.” That might not be the song I least expect to hear from a heavy metal band, but it’s pretty close.
For some inexplicable reason “Iron Horse” is nowhere near as big a motorcycle anthem as Bon Jovi’s “Dead or Alive,” but I’m sure any respectable biker would choose Iron over Steel. This collection contains two versions of the song “Motorhead” one by Motorhead and one by Lemmy’s previous band Hawkwind. I prefer the latter version, if only because it includes some violin. The fiddle is sorely missed in rock music.
Disc 2 contains great tracks also. I like the Girlschool version of “Bomber.” I wouldn’t say it’s better than the original, but it’s neat to hear that track on a greatest hits album. I know he’s referring to noted child psychologist Dr. Benjamin Spock in “Doctor Rock,” but I can’t help but think of a certain Leonard Nimoy character during the song.
Right around “Deaf Forever” and “Orgasmatron” they deploy some very eighties sounding drum tones. Nothing else changes but the sounds of the skins, and even though the tones are a little dated now, it serves to liven up the second disc. “Eat the Rich” is one of Motorhead’s most perfect songs ever. The master of the double entendre outdid himself with “Sittin’ here in a hired tuxedo, You wanna see my bacon torpedo!” The only thing that could make that song any better would be a remix with lines from Burgess Meredith in Grumpier Old Men saying “You wanna ride my bony macaroni?”
I’m not a big fan of their cover of the Sex Pistols’ “God Save The Queen.” It’s a good try, but it falls flat for me. Motorhead were a weird band in that they appealed to both punk and metal kids when that was a very uncommon thing. I read an interview with Lemmy where he said he felt Motorhead had more in common with bands like the Ramones and the Damned than metal bands. I don’t really hear that much, Motorhead is definitely a metal band, but it sounds like they were inspired by a lot of the 50’s rock and doo-wop that also inspired the Ramones. They just took it in a different direction.
I have very few complaints about this record after several listens. I don’t think it’s necessary to have a live and studio version of “The Chase Is Better Than The Catch,” but that’s a minor detail. Honestly, my biggest bitch is that my car stereo sucks so I can’t crank it up while cruising down the highway.
And while I have 97.63% praise for this collection, I do hope to be replacing it sometime soon. This was put out in 2000 which means I’m missing the last 15 years of Motorhead in my collection. I’d gladly pay for an updated collection. Any one know of any good ones?