Michael Monroe

Not Fakin' It

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On his American solo debut, Michael Monroe adds hair band rock to his usual mix of punk, glam, and '70s heavy metal. And surprise, surprise, it works out OK. Now securely under the wing of his good buddy, Little Steven Van Zandt, Monroe basically took a faulty genre of music (hair band) and made the best album possible under the circumstances. Little Steven also does some writing on this album, contributing two of the best cuts. From the first song, "Dead Jail or Rock and Roll," Monroe and Little Steven let you know where this album is headed -- directly to rock & roll Thrillsville. O "Dead Jail or Rock and Roll," the chorus goes again and again until you are pounding your fist on the table. Definitely a shock, the second song, "While You Were Looking at Me," actually upped the ante from track one. This is a classic song. Prototype Little Steven lyrics ("While you were looking at me/the world passed you by!") sung with a sneer and drenched in unrepentant attitude. This song was covered by Ian Hunter and Mick Ronson on their final tour together in 1989 with the intro: "This song has f*ck all to do with us/we just like it." Also featured is a re-remake of the Heavy Metal Kids' "She's No Angel," which was a featured dish on the first (import only) Monroe platter. This is a singalong. The title track, "Not Fakin' It," shows off Monroe's excellent taste in obscure cover songs. This one was originally performed by Nazareth on their classic, Loud & Proud. This comes on like a steaming metal locomotive and is more or less a statement of purpose: "I'm not fakin' it/fooling myself that I'm makin' it." While Monroe has the gorgeous model looks, his music is still a little too real for the masses, and apparently he knows it. The rest of the disc is packed with top-notch material, mostly written by Monroe. Getting rid of the occasional '80s hair metal guitar flourish is really the only way this album would've been any better, but heck, it was 1989. Hair ruled.

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