Sixx:A.M.’s new album is one of those made-for-radio records—but in all the right ways. This Is Gonna Hurt is a polished spectacle, irresistibly hooky and just heavy enough for headbangers, grandiose and gritty with the Los Angeles swagger characteristic of recent Revolver cover-boy Nikki Sixx, Mötley Crüe’s founding bassist and main songwriter. The second release from his side project is easily the best record released by a member of Crüe outside of Crüe (see vocalist Vince Neil's recent solo album and drummer Tommy Lee's latest Methods of Mayhem outing) and a remarkable hard-rock album in its own right, even topping Sixx:A.M.'s 2007 debut, The Heroin Diaries Soundtrack, which features the smash hit, "Life is Beautiful." From the bouncy opener and title track, This Is Gonna Hurt is clearly a labor of love for Sixx, who handpicked the phenomenal vocalist James Michael and guitarist DJ Ashba, of Guns N' Roses fame, to round out his band. The passion runs thick, but the record also displays new focus and sophistication from the group. Unlike on their first album, Sixx has mercifully abandoned the narrator angle, shutting up and letting the music do the talking. And boy, does it talk. The songs are dark, operatic, and almost ridiculously catchy. Highlights include the soaring first single “Lies of the Beautiful People,” the achingly touching ballads “Skin” and “Smile,” and the soulful anthem “Are You With Me.” To answer the question in that last song's title: Yes, we are, Sixx:A.M. Yes, we are. JEREMY BORJON
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