Like most self-styled bad-boy bands, Motley Crue look meaner than they sound. With their layers of leather and carefully applied makeup, their look suggests all the implied violence required of teenybopper antiheroes. But the music the Crue use to back up that image is surprisingly mild-mannered. It’s loud, sure, but that’s about as close to dangerous as it gets; Motley Crue’s version of rock & roll is such a careful distillation of Black Sabbath, Kiss and other arena giants that you’d almost think it was developed by MTV’s marketing staff.
“In the Beginning,” an eerie wheeze of electronics and studio gimmickry concocted by engineer Geoff Workman, gets the album off to a promising start, but after that, it’s pretty much rock by rote. “Shout at the Devil” employs an Aerosmith-style boogie riff to animate its antisatanic lyric. “Bastard” is a fight song driven by a Judas Priest arrangement. “Too Young to Fall in Love” is built around the same beat Kiss turned to when they thought they might revive their flagging career through disco. And “God Bless the Children of the Beast” is a directionless instrumental extrapolated from the guitar break to “Hotel California.”
In short, originality is not this group’s long suit. But then, who expected it to be? The whole point of bands like Motley Crue is to provide cheap thrills to jaded teens, and that’s where the album ultimately disappoints. Although “Ten Seconds to Love” boasts enough sexual innuendo to amuse the average thirteen-year-old boy until the next issue of Penthouse, Motley Crue’s promise of sex, rowdiness and rock & roll falls short on at least two counts.