Review: This is Gonna Hurt

Nikki’s side-project is at it again and, no surprise, he’s doing the dual promotion thing by releasing a collection of photos and personal stories called “This Is Gonna Hurt: Music, Photography And Life Through The Distorted Lens of Nikki Sixx” at the same time. I haven’t picked the book up yet but I’m hearing good things about it so I plan on doing it soon. The difference this time is that The Heroin Diaries served as a soundtrack to the book of the same name where as there is only a loose theme connecting the album and book. Basically, the theme is that beauty can be found in anything and anyone and not necessarily in what society deems to be “beautiful”. “Lies Of The Beautiful People” and “Skin” deal with this idea explicitly.

Given this looser connection to Nikki’s latest book, This Is Gonna Hurt is certainly the more commercial sounding of the two albums they’ve released. It’s freed from the shackles of trying to tell a story and reflect chapters in a book so what they’ve delivered is a hooky and haunting collection of modern alternative hard rock that is radio-ready and melodic yet with lyrics still dark and emo enough for people who like to shop at Hot Topic and wear black fingernail polish. Though Sixx:A.M. has no intentions to tour, I could see them doing well as an opening act for a band like Avenged Sevenfold.

So, seeing as how this album seems to have been written with airplay in mind some of the songs don’t necessarily come across as anything special. While there are no bad songs on this album, a few come across as exactly what they are — attempts at commercialism. Though I suppose it has worked since the album sold 30k copies in the first week and debuted at #10 on the Billboard charts.

This album seems to run the gamut. There are hard rockin’ anthems like the excellent “This Is Gonna Hurt” and the lead single “Lies Of The Beautiful People”, the rock/pop of “Are You With Me” (think Daughtry or David Cook) and then there are tender moments like the album’s low-key closing number “Skin” or the laid back country pop of “Feels So Right”. “Live Forever” is another album high point and along with “Smile” it really helps to point out the album’s more positive and upbeat nature in comparison to The Heroin Diaries.

But don’t worry, there are darker moments like the emo-tastic “Deadlihood” and “Goodbye My Friends while “Help Is On The Way” has lyrics that go: “Sometimes I wish you were dead and I’m not even joking/I’d put a gun to your head/And when your world crashes down, you’ll see it’s not so funny/What will you say to the press”.

For my money, this is one of the year’s best albums and I hope this isn’t the end for Sixx:A.M. (though I doubt it is). Nikki says he’s already working on Book #3 so I’m sure we can expect a new album at that time! If you were into The Heroin Diaries, you’ll be into This Is Gonna Hurt.