CD Review of Tommyland: The Ride by Tommy Lee

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Tommyland: The Ride
starstarstarstarno star Label: TL Education Services Inc.
Released: 2005
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Rock icon Tommy Lee is finding himself immersed in many projects these days, as well as responding to rumors of a third marriage to Pamela Anderson. He’s also gearing up for his own reality TV show which debuts this fall, “Tommy Goes to College,” where he will be attending classes at the University of Nebraska. But the former Motley Crue drummer is also finding the time to do what he does best, and that’s making music. His latest solo effort, Tommyland: The Ride, is a straight up rock album that boasts a list of guest performances by the likes of Dave Navarro, Joel Madden (Good Charlotte), Carl Bell (Fuel), Nick Carter (yes, that Nick Carter) and Butch Walker. There are flavors of pop, rock, punk, grunge, and electronica, but calling this effort anything but R-O-C-K is doing it an injustice.

“Good Times” is the first track, and those of you familiar with Butch Walker will notice his fingerprints and vocal chords all over it. Mr. Lee, you just gained half a star by engaging Mr. Walker. This track just rocks, and will be the theme to Lee’s TV show. “Hello Again” is a heartfelt ballad co-written and performed with Andrew McMahon of Something Corporate, and can hold its own against any power ballad ever written. The first single, “Tryin’ To Be Me,” is a sarcastic anthem about cell phone cameras, and geared toward the rock radio format that has been so friendly to Motley Crue over the years.

The fun continues with the singsong “Sister Mary” and with “Tired,” the latter of which is sung by Good Charlotte front man Joel Madden. With lyrics that poke fun of himself and other celebrities, Lee shows that he is all about having fun: “Tommy Got Tired of Pamela/Ed Got Tired of Salma/Puffy Got Tired of J Lo and Ben Did Too/I’m Just Tired of You.” “Make Believe” is a dark foray into the world of post-grunge, so-called nu-metal, but with a huge, uplifting chorus. And “Say Goodbye,” the collaboration with Nick Carter, is better than anyone with balls would ever admit.

One thing Tommy Lee has going for him is his ability to have fun and not take himself too seriously. That immediately shields him from the inevitable barrage of critics who might think he’s not cool anymore. Props to Lee for that, but even more mad props to him for staying true to the music. This is just a good, solid rock record and should be treated as such.

~Jeff Giles