Not The Typical Christmas Album

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Label Music's Shenine Rajakarunanayake takes a look at an album that may not be on everyone's Christmas list this year. However, the story is something that does offers a different perspective at Christmas time.

Watching the John Lewis advert of the hare and the bear sways many of us into the seasonal Christmas spirit for yet another year. For some reason this year, however, I find myself contemplating a little more on what lies around the outskirts of this festive utopia we find ourselves in.  For instance, the diary entries Nikki Sixx started writing twenty-six years from this upcoming Christmas day. Nikki Sixx was an addict to many substances such as heroin, he had several overdoses. On one occasion, the overdose left him dead for two minutes in 1987. The 23rd of December this year will be the 26th anniversary of his ‘death’ but he is alive and clean now.

You may have never heard of the man- neither did I until six months ago, whilst slouched on the bed of a 16th century Cistercian castle in Scotland, where the only useful procrastination device within ten miles was my brother's Ipod. Having a rummage through it, I came across one band that I had perhaps seen or heard about somewhere- Sixx AM. Initially I was slightly intimidated by their playlist, the first song being entitled: "X'mas In Hell".  Reluctantly, I forced my brain to plunge into this musical commotion of Chucky-driven car crashes that awaited…at least that’s what I expected anyway.

This cynic of a carol began with a creeping subtle melancholic approach to "Carol of the Bells"-all too familiar. But it was the next few seconds of this soundtrack that caught me in my traps. Whilst painfully bracing for death growls and dissonant guitar riffs, I was instead treated to soft guitar acoustics, as Nikki Sixx solemnly narrated through his first entry, taking you back to what he illustrates as that secluded mansion in Van Nuys over a quarter of a decade ago. As Sixx speaks, you slowly feel as though you are signing some sort of oath with Sixx to dive into this "Hell" of his. Concluding his narration, Mr Sixx welcomes you into the mass destruction of his doomed life on that same Christmas Eve. At that point, I instinctively knew I was pretty much lost within the walls of this album.

So why on earth would anyone listen to this at a time as pleasant as Christmas? There are places we avoid taking  second looks at knowing the emotional wreckage it prompts; this rock-conceptualised gem of an album is one example. Twenty six years on, this tale, as torturous as it is, is truthful for plenty trapped in their own demise. Who better to hear it from other than the man himself? Maybe next Christmas, or twenty six Christmases from now, someone will turn to you as the answer to that invaluable question Nikki asks  himself during the Intermission: "How the hell am I still alive?" Yes, I know it sounds ambitious, but just listen to this musical masterpiece- imagining what we could have lost is quite simply mind blowing.

Shenine Rajakarunanayake

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