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Back to Mystery City

Hanoi Rocks

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Album Review

Having so obviously worshipped at the altar of Mott the Hoople for much of their career, it's little surprise that for their fourth album Hanoi Rocks went straight to the source, getting both Dale Buffin Griffin and Pete "Overend" Watts to produce Back to Mystery City. Whatever else they brought to the sessions, the duo makes Hanoi Rocks sound like a much more powerful band than before; compared to Self Destruction Blues, the riffs are more explosive, the drumming pounding, and Michael Monroe is in full swing. The aura of '50s rave-up, '70s glam party, and '80s hard rock chaos that the band made their own sounds even better than before, but the production duo also made even more room for intriguing experiments within the songs themselves. Thus, the full-on glam stomp, mock-Burundi drums, and animal noises during the merry romp "Tooting Bec Wreck" (one of many Hanoi Rocks songs paying homage to home-away-from-home London), or the clearly obvious "Mony Mony" steal from the title track, with reverbed vocals working wonders. One thing's for sure: calling the first song "Strange Boys Play Weird Openings," and having it be a mock rustic folk song — with acoustic guitars, flutes, and chirping birds — is a great way to have fun. More so, admittedly, when things suddenly kick into the brilliant rocker "Malibu Beach Nightmare." Other songs, like "Beating Gets Faster" and "Ice Cream Summer" (gratuitous misogyny aside), may be more Hanoi Rocks by-the-numbers, but it's a good enough pattern to follow. In their own way, they weren't so much pioneers as followers of a style that not many attempted at the time. They get extra points, as well, for having one of the more entertainingly crude song titles around: "Lick Summer Love."

Customer Reviews

Great band! itunes has the wrong song titles though...

I recently re-discovered this band after reading Slash's book. He mentions they were an early influence on Guns n' Roses. I remember them from the 80's but never listened to them until now.
I was glad I did! The music holds up damn well. It is a great mix of punk, glam, and straight up rock n' roll.
For some reason the track listings are wrong on here. Songs titles for 4-8 are switched with the song titles for the same track numbers from their debut album.
So, for this album the right song titles and track #'s are:
4. Don't Never Leave Me
5. Lost in the City
6. First Timer
7. Cheyenne
8. 11th Street Kids

Great song. But iTunes has the wrong song listed.

The music you will download is not the correct song. I have been trying to get this situation corrected by iTunes and I am having a very difficult time. Very unhappy.

You don't have this?

I had this on white vinyl after I had Two Steps... This should have been their first release here. Not too thin, tight but not "prettified". This is a truer offering and was kind of mesmerizing. It is so familiar, yet different from what I was expecting. The songs are catchy, not cliched, with a certain attitude not found in US bands. How could anyone not have this?


Formed: 1980 in Helsinki, Finland

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Finland's major export to the world of heavy metal, Hanoi Rocks, drew much of their sound and inspiration from '70s glam rock and were thought by some to have fused the two styles more successfully than similar acts. Founded in 1980, their debut album, Bangkok Shocks, Saigon Shakes, Hanoi Rocks, was released in 1981, and the band soon went to London to promote themselves and record Oriental Beat. They signed to CBS in 1983 and began to spread their name in Britain; their...
Full Bio

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