I have found myself today at a loss for time. I just woke up, am due in at work in about an hour, and have all my time afterward booked up well past midnight, so basically this brief amount of time here is the only time I have to write about an album. I figured the best way to write about an album quickly is to write about a very quick album:
It’s also easy to write about this album because I have heard is about a billion times.
I am really glad this band exists. Motörhead is, without stretching too far into the realm of hard rock and metal, one of the uglier bands out there, but make up for it handily with their raw power and speed. In particular, Ace Of Spades is a shot of pure adrenaline, administered in an almost lethal amount of doses (12 songs on the album proper, 15 on the release I have with some bonus songs). From the opening distorted bass riff of “Ace Of Spades” to the ending track, the even faster “The Hammer”, the album is relentlessly punchy, fast, and grunty.
There really is a certain quality to singer/bassist Lemmy’s grunting, too. It’s the type of voice that other voices in metal just crumble and blow away in the wind against. It’s certainly a good thing that Motörhead is NOT a metal band. They insist on not being called that, since they (like me) consider conventional medal to be like “geezers plodding around the bottom of a lake with lead shoes on”, and metal is indeed ploddy, whereas Motörhead are all about fast presentation with no reverb, glitz, or ANY non-singing portion of a song NOT being filled with an incredible guitar solo.
There’s not a lot to say to differentiate one track from another on the album, since they’re all awesome, but I’ll try anyway. “Ace Of Spades” is certainly the best known song, at least to me, since it’s the first one I ever saw the band play on the British punk-rock comedy show The Young Ones. A lot of other people may know the song from its inclusion in both Guitar Hero and (I think) Rock Band. From what I can tell, it’s about a guy who likes to play cards and doesn’t mind losing all the time because he only ever plays with one card, which may not be sensible card-playing behaviour but trust me I am not going to question.
The next song, “Love Me Like A Reptile“, is a signature Lemmy-penned love ballad:
Knew I had to bite you baby when I first laid eyes on you
That moment turned me on, I can’t believe it’s true
And I like to watch your body sway
I got no choice, I’m gonna twist your tail
One of the things I’ve always loved about Lemmy’s songwriting is how it uses conventional lines like “I can’t believe it’s true” amidst the dirtiest themes. I can’t really explain how that’s hilarious, only that it is.
Then a vibroslap brings us into the next song, “Shoot You In The Back“, a quick song about being in a Western movie, with an underlying cautionary message of living on pride, which is actually a big theme for this particular album. Certainly Motörhead is not a band of ego, they’re just there to rock.
In fact, the next song “Live To Win” is a really great loser’s motivational anthem:
You mustn’t shout it out loud,
Don’t create a scene,
It’s no good being proud
That only feeds the scheme,
Break down the wall,
Live it up it’s their time to fall,
Anarchy is coming in,
If you know we Live To Win
Which is a really inspirational message of hope to those of us dragged down by the system. One may also refer to the bizarre but hilarious movie Eat The Rich, which stars a few of the guys from The Young Ones and Lemmy himself.
Now that we’ve gotten the fighting and shooting all done, it’s time for some lovin’, in a way only Lemmy can really convey with the next song, “Fast And Loose“:
Two o’ clock in the morning baby
I know it’s late, I know it’s late
I’m dark and I like the night
And I can make you feel alright
I’ve been around for quite a while
And I’ve learned how I can make you smile
I know you won’t refuse
You know I’m Fast And Loose
How any lady could resist such a romantic plea? At the very least, he seems fairly sincere.
We then move on to another type of ballad, a tribute to the dirtiest and lowliest bunch in music, “(We Are) The Road Crew“, which is an all-too-honest tribute to life on the road in general.
Just in case you felt that song was a bit slow, however, the next track, “Fire, Fire” brings it right back up. The lyrics aren’t without their charm of course:
Fire, Fire! Holocaust
Fire, Fire! Given up for lost
Fire, Fire! Strike one, strike two
Fire, Fire! I’m a match for you
Who says there isn’t perfection in songwriting? Really you may be thinking at this point that Lemmy is quite the maniac with the ladies, and you’re probably right, particularly with the younger class of ladies, as evidenced in the next song, “Jailbait“, about which the less said, the better.
The song “Dance” is a slightly less distorted song, I suppose for the old people. It’s got more of a blues/swing style of hard rock than the previous songs, but by the chorus you realize that it’s still the same Motörhead, they’re just showing a brief bit of variety, which isn’t really the name of the game with Ace Of Spades, which is probably why it’s at the back of the album.
The very best song, at least lyrically, is “Bite The Bullet“, which is the very best breakup song I have ever heard where the writer of the song is the antagonist to the breakup:
Stepping out, I’m leaving here,
No use crying, crying in my beer,
Enough’s enough, believe it’s true,
Bite The Bullet, I’m leaving you
Said goodbye, I left a note,
But I don’t remember, just what I wrote,
The same old words, to say we’re through,
Bite The Bullet, I’m leaving you
So that’s the way it always ends,
Get sympathy from all your friends,
Seems there’s nothing, nothing else to do,
Bite The Bullet, I’m leaving you
That’s not an excerpt, that’s the entire song. The whole thing is about 1:38 in length, which is quite possibly the fastest breakup song in existence. I really wish I had time to research that one to find out if there’s anything quicker. Oh well.
The penultimate track to Ace Of Spades is “The Chase Is Better Than The Catch“, which is the slow-song of the album. It’s really quite tender, compared to the rest of the album, and you can tell with lines like these:
I like a little innocent bitch
You know I ain’t just screwing
The last and final song on the album, as I mentioned before, is “The Hammer“, which is a song about justice. Justice brought… with a hammer.
And I am now out of time, so I had better get before the hammer makes me die. I will probably have to listen to this album again to give me the shot of adrenaline I need to get to work that much faster. Until then, rock on!
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