Track Listing
1. Look In Her Eyes
2. Sister of Pain
3. Can't Have Your Cake
4. Fine, Fine Wine
5. The Edge
6. Can't Change Me
7. Set Me Free
8. Livin' Is A Luxury
9. You're Invited (But Your Friend Can't Come)
10. Gettin' Hard
11. Forever

Warner Bros. 1993

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Motley Crue:
Music to Crash Your Car To (2003) [4 disc comp]
Dr. Feelgood (1989)
Girls, Girls, Girls (1987)
Vince Neil:
Exposed (1993)
Carved in Stone (1995)
Live at the Whiskey: One Night Only (2003)


I don't even know why I'm reviewing this. Joseph White wrote a perfectly respectable review of it back many years ago which can be read *here*, but yet it seems like we should revisit it now that time has passed. Time has a way of doing that and while I recall very clearly the day this was discovered by my young impressionable metal loving heart, it feels completely impossible that this cd should be nearly *eleven* years old now. I found it in 1994 during the height of my Motley Crue fascination (which bordered upon obsession) in cassette tape form for a mere $4.99. It was one of those discounted "cut out" tapes that had a chunk of plastic ripped out of the plastic spine which seemed popular at the time for tapes that were going nowhere in a hurry. Popping it into the tape player in the car lead me on a journey that the Crue never bothered to take me on, but Vince with Steve Stevens was up to the task. Sleaze with class, crunchy guitars with sizzling straight-from-the-80s solos, wickedly cunning hooks that string you out for days... it seemed like the trip would never end. While tapes and cds came and went, including high priced imports that I would scoff at these days now that rent, car payments and other aspects of reality have factored into life, "Exposed" was never entirely covered up. It fell to the wayside for awhile until I stumbled across a CD of it in Books-A-Million for less than half of what I originally paid for the cassette. At $1.99 it was a ridiculous steal and earns the award for the cheapest disc ever bought by me! Another fall from grace ensued as I reveled in the decadence once again, but the cd left my possession temporarily but not my mind.

It was only a few days ago, less than a week perhaps when I was sitting at work (not an unusual occurance at all, the norm actually) and suddenly this lyric popped into my head out of nowhere. “She’s got the red light district in her brain, I tried to help her but its driving me insane.” Or it was at the very least, something close to that effect. Not every album has such genius lyrics so just hearing it pound in my head over and over was enough to almost induce insanity, and the mind tracked it down to “Gettin’ Hard”, which kick started my love affair with “Exposed” all over again.

Admittedly its not the greatest album in the world, some of these songs have stuck with me just due to the massive amounts of time that I spent listening to the tape (and then disc) of the cd repeatedly. The lyrics are nasty and nice, dripping with sticky sweet naughtiness and huge hooks, some (if not all) most definitely courtesy of Vince’s superb sidekick team of songwriters that includes Jack Blades from Night Ranger among others. Credit has to be given to these guys because it was obvious a few years later that the mostly Neil written “Carved in Stone” was very different - and extremely inferior to this initial solo outing. Neil’s glorious ex-wife, the mind numbingly beautiful Heidi Mark (check her out at , beware, there is nudity but can you believe that Vince cheated on THIS?) even said in an interview that he actually sat his butt down to write “CiS”, so therefore its failure is centered firmly on the singer’s shoulders. I also used to think Vince was the greatest singer this side of glam-dom. Taking off the rose coloured glasses, he’s a good belter, with a solid (and might I add, unique) rock voice, but he’s not going to win any awards for technique. Here he lays it down thick and dirty, probably one of the best performances he’s clocked in over the years. Also of note is the inclusion of whiz guitarist Steve. Steve Stevens has quite a pedigree, having been the guitarist for the likes of Michael Jackson and Billy Idol, did the title song for the Top Gun soundtrack, not to mention his own album under the headline, “Steve Stevens Atomic Playboys”. He uses machine gun guitar effects that do date and sound a bit cheddary cheese-tacular, but he absolutely rips it up, and I find the effects to be charming. Some have complained that the album exposes way too much axe slinging pyrotechnics, and it’s true, the disc is a string worshipper’s dream with dazzling displays of talent and finger breaking solos. Its all about flash and shoves it in your face at every possible moment, there’s crunchy riffs grinding along at addicting rhythms and explosions of fret burning grandeur at every possible turn. Does it go on too long? Perhaps, but his playing is a guilty pleasure and with these songs so comfortable in my mind they seem the perfect length and time, but it could just be me being “used” to it. You can’t deny that they aren’t inventive and attention grabbing but do little for the good name of song structure.


01.] “Look In Her Eyes”
Thunder flash and feedback spin into utter chaos with sounds of warped guitar and a bit of grit, setting the cd off on the right foot. The chorus is what is the killer though, the songwriting is very tight on this one and the musicianship grade A. The instrumentation is dazzling in its variety and uniqueness while sticking to the rock formula.

02.] “Sister of Pain”
I have new appreciation for this song after being “exposed” to the video recently. The lyrics are nasty dirty tongue-and-cheek, absolutely perfect for this “Motley Crue on steroids” track. Co-written by both Tommy Shaw and Jack Blades, both from Damn Yankees, individually from Styx and Night Ranger respectively, they knew how to help the charismatic frontman forge a track that would snap the attention quicker than a groupie going for the zipper. The chorus is a hook dripping delight that makes the most tone deaf can’t-hit-a-note-if-life-depended-on-it croaker want to drag out the karaoke machine and swagger along to their own rendition. Vince is absolutely endearing, how he can get off singing stuff like this and not seem like a cheesecake is beyond me but he pulls it off with style and snickeringly naughty charm. Take this as you will: “Liquor round the front and poker in the rear.” In print it seems perfectly innocence, describing perhaps a bar scene, but when sung. Yeah, say it out loud. That is some dirty, dirty shit. And he sings it and it is adorable. I’m not kidding that as Vince says at one point: “Ooh yeah hahaha I’m a dirty boy.” No joke about that, but with ripping riffs and a rhythm that won’t stop, its better than most anything Crue put out.

03.] “Can’t Have Your Cake”
Déjà vu perhaps you may ask yourself? Nope, you aren’t going crazy, this song has indeed seen life before in another form entirely. On a demo cd of Jerusalem Slim that Steve Stevens played on there was a song entitled “Downwardly Mobile” that was credited as being written by Michael Monroe. Apparently it was below Monroe’s standards because he didn’t want it on his record so Steve Stevens axed all of the previous input by Michael and presented the song to Vince with chorus, solos, etc. all intact. Vince liked it, wrote the lyrics for it and boom there you have it. Apparently you can have you cake (and eat it too). The song itself, well its not that bad, typical Motley Crue-ish slutty grooves and so-forth. Neil injects the song with an overdose of attitude and overall one should be happy it didn’t die as some obscure thing called “Downwardly Mobile”.

04.] “Fine, Fine Wine”
This is about as throw away as the disc gets. Not bad for a cd deeply rooted in the late 1980s party glam scene where usually have a disc was good and the rest of it was just there for filler. Another good performance by Vince - really he doesn’t get any better than on “Exposed”. There’s guitar whiz stuff abound, lots of high flying riffage and Stevens has the chops to take everything to the next level. Its extreme, has a good groove but doesn’t really get off the ground like some of the other songs do. A shame, yes, but the effort was not totally worthless. Truthfully, I usually skip it but hey each to their own. I will add that the echo effect is kinda cool and redeems a bit overall. Plus the chorus, as simple and generic as it may be, is pure sing-a-long material.

05.] “The Edge”
Some may stare aghast at the comment I’m about to make and wonder if I have lost my mind sometime along the way… but believe me, the following statement is absolutely one hundred and ten percent true. Here it goes: This is ONE of the best songs from the 1990s. There. I said it. The intensity, the fire, the savage acoustic atrocity that spirals down into the depths of darkness… never had I heard an acoustic guitar sound so foreboding yet twisting with promise simultaneously. It is like being swept away on an intense ride into the middle of a chaotic pit stretched between good and evil and all that’s between. The singing is inspired and grasps the concept of living life right on the edge, driving it home with a confident rawness. A killer song and the crowning jewel of the disc, it’s a shame it has to share the same cd with filler “junk” like “Set Me Free”, but that’s the exception to the “Exposed” rule so bitch about it too much, we shall not.

06.] “Can’t Change Me”
This is for the girls out there, that think they can get ahold of their “dream man” with all flaws intact and magically wave the wand of femininity (is that a word?!) and BOOM, he is now the perfect guy molded as one would “dream”. Alas, it doesn’t work that way, especially if you are a rocker such a Vince. Hell if Heidi Mark couldn’t change this man, no one is going to. Ahh but what about the song you ask?? It’s a pretty damn good ballad, right up there with “Without You” from Motley’s last real cd, “Dr. Feelgood”. The musicianship is linked together so tight here, the acoustic, the drums, everything flows with a rock solid structure that’s unbendable. Vince croons all over the top of it and sounds spectacular thanks to the incredible backing behind him.

07.] “Set Me Free”
A cover of a Sweet song. How sweet. Why Vince needs to do covers one could only guess. Then again plenty of other established bands lay on the cover songs hard and heavy so why not do one as “filler”. Fast and furious, check out the nerve shattering riffing and Tommy Lee-like drumming supplied by blonde cutie Foxx. The guitar solos are out of this world, as this is just another excuse to rip and tear it up so fans of the electric six stringed instrument will most likely find something here to entertain them. For some reason this track always felt out of place to me and doesn’t gel like the others, in fact Vince sounds like he’s singing off of cue cards. Very unnatural and a real letdown after the double whammy of the thought provoking “Can’t Change Me” and the slamming mind melter “The Edge”.

08.] “Living is a Luxury”
Grittier than anything else on the cd but with some unusual acoustic areas and haunting subject matter it goes down with shivers up the spine. “If you turn around and tell me ‘go to hell’ - I’ll tell ya I know that place too well.” A little violin probably synth, and some horns mix it up from the standard course. The verses are laden with acoustic and sparse eerie atmospheric sounds which are broken up by the chorus with its raw riffs, and then there’s the guitar solo. With this album, it always comes down the guitar solo and Stevens makes that bloody thing whinney like a horse among other wild sounds. He doesn’t hold back, but smoothly switches back to the crunchy rhythm for the remainder and then the thumping bass backbone and acoustic laced with simplistic jazzy electric riffage for the extended ending.

09.] “You’re Invited (But Your Friend Can’t Come)”
Party anthem. Period. But oh so much fun, the attitude is right on target and the background vocals going “whoa no!” add some spice to what would otherwise be a basic by the numbers rocker. The energy is infectious ecstasy, Foxx’s drumming mimics the intensity of Tommy Lee, but with his own dashing flair, especially during the teasing build up before the explosive guitar show off solo. This band was tighter than a…. okay I’m not even going to go there, let just say it was tight and leave it at that.

10.] “Gettin' Hard”
For the past month I have been addicted to this track, in fact it’s the reason I decided to put this album up to my reviewing scrutiny. It’s a by the basics slamming rocker with an 80s decadent shine and glam gloss that just didn’t exist anymore in the changing music markets of 1993. With classic lines such as “She’s got the red light district in her brain…” and “Now she’s playing trick or treat on Hollywood and Vine”.

11.] “Forever”
And finally, the disc ends on a poignant subtle note with this rather worn ballad. It is right up there with “Can’t Change Me”, making it difficult to pick a winner between the two. This one has a love weary feel to it, the lapping acoustic guitar seems tired and worn even but you can feel the love laying beneath it all, making this soft tempo song a sweet finale indeed.


Eleven songs, only two of which I consider to be ‘filler’ material. Not bad indeed. It’s a shame that Vince Neil’s career took a swirl into the shitter after this fine first solo outing. He really outdid himself in the vocal area, surpassing all of his past performances and really shining brightly. Of course in 1993 Nirvana was on top of the world along with all the angsty punk wannabes waving their alternative banners and off key attempting to sing their own anthem “metal is dead”. With the music industry in a state of disarray and no longer welcoming anything that was in key and had the spirit of “real” rock n’ roll alive and well inside, “Exposed” rotted on the shelf along with many other great releases from the same year. It was in the bargain bins faster than one could blink twice. If this had been dropped, say two years prior, it probably would have been big, but alas, fate took a dump on it and people like myself only discovered it after it was floating at a reduced price in the toilets of the music stores. The putrid “Carved in Stone” was thrown out the door by Neil a few years afterward, in a sad bid to gain some radio exposure, but the flirting with industrial sounds and the muddy overall depressing vibe was too “out there” for his fans and again he was left with nothing.

He may be a bloated, drunken, reality show exploited fool now, but for about the cost of two double cheeseburgers at McDonalds this can be yours! Its less than a Happy Meal even, and is definitely worth the cash. Because back in the day, my friends, Vince could sing and his band could play.  Most of the songs are dirty “nudge nudge” party anthems, but there are a few that require some deeper thought as well. A well rounded record and still one of my favorites to throw on when things are getting me down. Uplifting and fun, Vince out Motley’ed Motley. Crue fans, enjoy, its pleasantly sleazy and just dirty enough to make the Church group blush.  Okay probably dirtier than that, but that's why I like it. 

Ratings and Wrap Up:
Songs - 7.0, Performance - 9.0, Production - 8.5, Lyrics - 7.5

Hot Spots:  "The Edge", "Can't Change Me", "Sister of Pain", "Gettin' Hard"
Bottom Line: Vince Neil and sleazy music just go together... like marshmellows and cocoa.   Or topless chicks and strip clubs.  One or the other.

Review by Alanna Evans -

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