Michael Monroe
The Best
(Spinefarm Records)

His name is forever linked to the hairspray, drag, and glitter era as the co-founding front man of glam pioneers, Hanoi Rocks, but he’s also made a separate legacy with his own name. We’re talking about Michael Monroe’s solo career, which receives a highlight of its own via a career spanning, retrospective compilation CD from Spinefarm Records entitled The Best. Monroe’s story has already received substantial coverage over the years by various publishers, you would think they were running out of content ideas, but hey it’s a good story! He’s dedicated himself to one genre as a songwriter and performer for nearly 40 years and is practically a rock n’ roll phoenix: forms the glam rock powerhouse, endures a tragedy with the group that ultimately led to the first era of the band closing curtains and segued into what has been a successful solo career. That’s not an easy ship to steer and maintain by any means, especially in the savage and subjective world of the record business.

The Best showcases the collaborations Monroe’s done throughout the years, notable ones include his work with Slash on a stripped down cover of Steppenwolf’s “Magic Carpet Ride”. Monroe was also great friend with Stiv Bators, [frontman for punk icons Dead Boys & Lords Of The New Church], and pays homage to Bators with the inclusion of “It’s A Lie”, a harmonious duet they recorded together in 1987 for the Nights Are So Long release. His explosive anthems “Dead, Jail or Rock n’ Roll”, “Nights are so Long”, “78”, and “The Ballad of the Lower East Side” have been anthemic mainstays in his catalog and with his popularity in Japan substantial, those cuts are quality choices to fuel any after hours drinking escapade of a Japanese salaryman. The first wave of the English punk scene had a profound influence on his group’s writing style as well with the tracks “Hammersmith Palais” and “Nothing’s Alright” musically and lyrically having that this aesthetic present. His fondness for the melodic side of the rock plays a big part in this comp with tracks like “Can’t Go Home Again”, “Man With No Eyes”, “Stained Glass Heart”, “Keep Your Eye on You”, and “You Crucified Me” giving proof of this. Not to make this strictly a retrospective, he includes a new track “One Foot Outta the Grave” which judging by the lyrics is an offensive attack on the absurd consensus that rock is dead and that clearly Monroe and his band mates not going away anytime soon.

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