Great Metal Albums of 1983: Hanoi Rocks- Back to Mystery City

220px-back_to_mystery_city

It took me a couple of listens before I finally was able to get into Hanoi Rocks’ 1983 release, “Back to Mystery City.” At the time, I hadn’t heard of them and it would be another year before I actually did when they played a small club in New Jersey. On the other hand, it’s been fun delving into their backlog of albums, even this one. It might have taken a couple of listens but I can say now, “I like it.”

The weird thing was that Youtube has this album backwards. The actual first track on the album is the last one on Youtube and vice versa. So, I ask myself, would my listening experience have been different if I had listened to the album in the correct order? My answer: I don’t think so. The order doesn’t matter here. The short instrumental opening, “Strange Boys Play Weird Openings” could have been called “Strange Boys Play Weird Closings.” it’s inter-changeable.

Before I get further obsessed with the order of the songs, let’s look at the songs themselves. There are a number of good ones so I’ll start with the one I’m least impressed with, “Lick Summer Love.” It’s not a terrible song, nor even a bad one but it doesn’t move me either. Hanoi Rocks tries to introduce a calypso feel to the song but it doesn’t quite work. Again, I don’t hate the song but it is at a level below the others on “Back to Mystery City.” Then again, Michael Monroe wrote the song when he was seventeen and has since said that he hated the lyrics.

Now let’s go to the positives and there are many. I can’t say a bad thing about the rest of the album and it has been difficult for me to pick a favourite track. Each one seems as good as the last one. For example, after riding the mid tempo “Until I Get You” which has been said to typify the band’s seventies glam rock style, I get pounded with “Sailing Down the Tears.” Now that I have had a moment to think, if I have to pick a favourite, it’s going to be “Tooting Bec Wreck.” This is more up tempo for me and works on so many levels. Maybe it’s me but I do hear a slight influence of the famous Sweet song, “Ballroom Blitz” on it. Plus it’s the best song for appreciating Sam Yaffa’s bass skills. Then there’s the one single from the album, “Malibu Beach Nightmare,” which Andy McCoy wrote while smoking hashish. Maybe certain drugs can influence creativity, lol. It was originally recorded in calypso fashion as a joke but the band decided to record it as a rock song, good decision in retrospect. “Mental Beat” is quite a cool song too.

Track Listing:

  1. Strange Boys Play Weird Openings
  2. Malibu Beach Nightmare
  3. Mental Beat
  4. Tooting Bec Wreck
  5. Until I Get You
  6. Sailing Down the Tears
  7. Lick Summer Love
  8. Beating Gets Faster
  9. Ice Cream Summer
  10. Back to Mystery City
Hanoi Rocks

Hanoi Rocks

Michael Monroe- lead vocals, saxophone, harmonica

Andy McCoy- lead guitar

Nasty Suicide- rhythm guitar

Sam Yaffa- bass

Razzle- drums

Hanoi Rocks were putting out solid albums in rapid succession and beginning to find more commercial success in 1983. “Back to Mystery City” was a good stepping stone in that direction.

Next post: Riot- Born in America

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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4 Responses to “Great Metal Albums of 1983: Hanoi Rocks- Back to Mystery City”

  1. That’s bizarre that YouTube has In in the wrong order… I wonder how many other albums have been uploaded like that on there!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Nice write up…..Looking forward to Riot……

    Liked by 1 person

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