The Best Album Of All Times – Number 4: Sixx A.M. – The Heroin Diaries (2007)
This is not an album, this is not poetry, this is not a story. This is all of them combined together in an amazing soundtrack, written as the music to the book with the same name, The Heroin Diaries. An album that describes the life as a Heroin addict.
All the tracks on the album represents one month of Nikki Sixx life in the period from December 1986 to December 1987, which truly shows in the lyrics, and was written after Nikki Sixx had done in total six drug overdoses.
Sixx A.M; as Sixx from Nikki Sixx, DJ Ashba (currently Gun’s and Roses) and James Michael has put together an epic album with Heroine Diaries. An album that may grow in popularity over the years, and an album that I think is absolutely one of the best albums ever. If the album would’ve been released back in the days when records were solely sold as complete albums, this would’ve been one of the really big ones!
The Music could be described as Musical-inspired Hard Rock.
It’s one of those albums that’s hard to listen to, just track by track. Instead it’s a complete history with all parts of a hard, struggling life well described; happiness, sadness, hope, failing, anxiety…
If the schools should use music as drug awareness, this album would be the best pick.
In my opinion Nikki Sixx is amazing at writing lyrics, and before we’re digging in to the lyrics of Heroin Diaries, I must share these rows from the track “Oh My God”, on the following album “This is Gonna Hurt”
And we sit in our highrise apartments and complain about things that don’t matter,
And we race through this life just to see who can die with as much as we can gather,
And a few blocks away a teenage mother plays Russian Roulette with her daughter,
Is this the best that we can do, is this the best that we can do.
Back to Heroin Diaries:
To fully understand the lyrics, it might be good to know some “drug slang”
blue – Crack Cocaine; depressants; OxyContin
ex – ecstasy
golden eye / Persian – Heroin
My own thoughts about the album, combined with small parts of the lyrics
As I previously wrote, all the tracks on the album represents one month of Nikki Sixx life in the period from December 1986 to December 1987, which also is described on the first track, X-Mas In Hell:
December 25th, 1986 – Van Nuys.
That’s what people say at Christmas, right?
Except normally they have someone to say it to.
They have friends and family,
And they haven’t been crouched naked under a Christmas tree
with a needle in their arm like an insane person in a mansion in Van Nuys.
They’re not out of their minds, they’re not writing in a diary,
And they’re definitely not watching their holiday spirit coagulate in a spoon.
I didn’t speak to a single person today.
I figured why should I ruin their fucking Christmas.
I’ve started a new diary and this time I have a few new reasons.
One, I have no friends left.
Two, so I can read back and remember what I did the day before.
And three, so if I die, at least I leave a nice little suicide note of my life.
If you’re wondering about Van Nuys when you listen to this track, it’s a popular place in California where many celebrities have lived/lives. Link
Van Nuys is also the title of the next track. In this track there seems to be a fragment of fighting spirit starting to grow. Even though it’s still very melancholic.
I don’t want to die out here in the valley
You don’t have to lie, I know that’s what I’ll do
I don’t want my mom to know
That I never loved my life and I sold my soul
Third track, Life Is Beautiful the anxiety over dying and the reflection of life’s beauty is starting to grow, and I guess due to an eye-opener while visiting someone else’s funeral (I will check this while reading the book which I think is a must to fully understand it all and to be able to question comments on the internet). The music on this track is a little more on the hard side Listen especially to the guitars and arrangements.
just open your eyes, just open your eyes
And you see that life is beautiful
Will you swear on your life
That no one will cry at my funeral?
Pray for me; the searching for help have started. The anxiety is evident.
Cross your heart and hope
That I won’t die before the best day of my life
Just pray for me tonight
Tomorrow. A sign that the hope has started to grow. The thoughts are more around future plans, a commitment to choose life, and accept what’s been said and done. First track where Nikki Sixx is starting to use words about the future.
Tomorrow we’re gonna have to live with the thing you say
Tomorrow we’ll have to cross bridges that you burn today
Tomorrow everything you do is coming back for you
You’ll never outrun what waits for you tomorrow
The track “Accidents can happen” is a beautiful track about when you slip, and about accepting that we all do make mistakes, and it’s fine that we make them. One of the tracks on this album that works really well by it’s own.
And you know that accidents can happen
And it’s okay, we all fall off the wagon sometimes
It’s not your whole life, it’s only one day
You haven’t thrown everything away
Intermission; the pause
When I first placed my hands
On these diaries, scraps of paper
There were notes and scribbles
And all kinds of shit
A lot of feelings came bubbling up
But mostly this one
‘How the hell am I still alive?’
Dead Man’s ballet is true death anxiety and the question why God have deserted him
Oh God, how could you have let this
Happened to such a lovely young child?
I was their only son and I tried, tried, tried
Heart failure; a track about what it’s like to take drugs, and be a drug addict. For those of you that have followed this series of posts, Mötley Crüe was at place 14. In that post I wrote “Nikki Six was in an academic way dead for two minutes before found by Slash in his hotel room 1987, and the injected with adrenalin in the heart and survived. This was actually the background for the track “Kickstart my heart” on the Dr Feelgood album.”
If I could have a guess, and it isn’t far-fetched, I guess that this song is from that time.
Like I was saying
To look into the eyes of death was intoxicating
Taking it into our lungs, laughing at ourselves
Where a loser’ll probably cry
And more importantly, had probably just died
Since all the tracks reflects one month of his live 1986/1987, the lyrics Heart Failure, Girl With Golden Eyes, Courtesy Call and Permission are closely linked together.
While Heart failure is describing the consequences, Girl with golden eyes is about being in love with Heroin, and how he struggles to get rid of “her”. True signs of hope are starting to show, and the music composition is absolutely beautiful! For those that don’t know what this album is all about this track may pass by as any other love song. Courtesy call is about preparing for the next step, being without drugs…
This is just a courtesy call
This is just a matter of policy
This is just an act of kindness
To let you know that your time is up, up
Permission: He has reached the goal. He’s free, and has to start taking care of what have been, and live a new life, fight against being caught again and just focus.
The album ends with the track “Life After Death”.
So here we are at the end,
And at the same time we’re at the beginning
Of this misadventure.
Why I had to go down a dead end street
At two hundred miles an hour
Screaming for vengeance and embracing death,
That’s still something I’m trying to figure out.
You know a part of me thinks this is some big master plan
To expose the raw nerve endings of dysfunction so I can heal.
But you know addicts, we think everything’s about us, don’t we?
Man it got so convoluted, polluted, and distorted
I ran with the only information I was given
I turned it into my armour, my defence mechanism,
And my weapon of self destruction.
Yeah, I had a fucked up childhood. And I was a troubled teen.
Those are facts.
How I got there? That’s a story told by many voices.
It’s not my job to blame anybody anymore,
I just need to accept the path I was given.
This is, without a doubt,
My life after death.
When I first started making this list. This was one of the albums I really looked forward to penetrate. To have time to really dig into it, and understand it.
I hope you like it as much as I do, and after all. This is not an album, this is not poetry, this is not a story. This is all of them combined together in an amazing soundtrack
interviews with Lead Vocalist James Michael
Interview with Nikki Sixx about his book Heroin Diaries
Full Album (YouTube playlist):