Blog Archives

Lita Ford – Living Like a Runaway [Review]

Lita Ford – Living Like a Runaway
(2012, SPV/Steamhammer Records)

1. “Branded”
2. “Hate”
3. “The Mask”
4. “Living Like a Runaway”
5. “Relentless”
6. “Mother”
7. “Devil in My Head”
8. “Asylum”
9. “Love 2 Hate U”
10. “A Song to Slit Your Wrists By”

Musicians:
Lita Ford – Lead Vocals, Guitar, Keyboards
Gary Hoey – Guitar, Bass, Keyboards, Backing Vocals, Co-Vocals (“Love 2 Hate U”)
Matt Scurfield – Drums

Producer: Lita Ford, Gary Hoey & Bobby Collin

After the career misstep that was 2009’s S&M sex-charged & industrial Wicked Wonderland, Lita Ford is back. Only this time she’s recently divorced, pissed off and ready to rock like it’s the 1980s all over again. Wicked Wonderland seemed like it very much should’ve been released as a effort from Lita Ford and Jim Gillette instead of being treated as a Lita Ford solo effort but with that marriage now over, Lita is now back in familiar hard rock territory and truly flying solo.

“Branded” (though angry), “The Mask”, “Asylum”, “Love 2 Hate U”, “Devil In My Head” sound more like the Lita we’ve all come to know and love and drool over. “Living Like a Runaway” definitely goes back into that melodic pop metal territory where she became a superstar. That mid-temp number could’ve been a hit for her had it been released in the late ’80s or early ’90s.

“Hate” has more of a modern metal vibe to it and it wouldn’t be too out of place on Wicked Wonderland. Same with “A Song to Slit Your Wrists By”. I guess it’s hard letting go but you gotta let go if you really want to rock tonight, Lita!

While she may not be coming up with anything as catchy as “Close My Eyes Forever”, “Gotta Let Go” or “Kiss Me Deadly” on this album, Lita is at least getting closer to her roots and giving her fans more of what they want and isn’t that a win for everyone? Enjoyable effort from The Queen of Metal.

Obscure cover song alert: “A Song to Slit Your Wrists By” is a song from Nikki Sixx’s old side-project 58.

Highlights: “Branded”, “The Mask”, “Living Like a Runaway”, “Devil In My Head”, “Asylum”, “Love 2 Hate U”

www.litafordonline.com
www.facebook.com/litaofficial
Buy the album at Amazon.com

Monster Madness

Various Artists – Monster Madness (2000, Razor & Tie Music)

1. “Dr. Feelgood” – Motley Crue – 4:51
2. “Unskinny Bop” – Poison – 3:48
3. “I Remember You” – Skid Row – 5:15
4. “Kiss Me Deadly” – Lita Ford – 4:01
5. “I Wanna Rock” – Twisted Sister – 3:04
6. “Silent Lucidity” – Queensryche – 5:49
7. “Epic” – Faith No More – 4:54
8. “Up All Night” – Slaughter – 3:47
10. “Don’t Treat Me Bad” – FireHouse – 3:58
11. “Hole Hearted” – Extreme – 3:40
12. “Bang Your Head (Metal Health)” – Quiet Riot – 5:20
13. “In My Dreams” – Dokken – 4:21
14. “Wait” – White Lion – 4:03
15. “Easy Come, Easy Go” – Winger – 4:03
16. “I Saw Red” – Warrant – 3:50
17. “I’ll See You in My Dreams” – Giant – 4:45

Following Razor & Tie’s success with Monsters of Rock and Monster Ballads, here comes Monster Madness! Monster Madness is essentially Monsters of Rock 3 (Monsters of Rock 2 was released a few months before this album) and is certainly superior to MOR 2 (which was already scraping the bottom of the barrel) and is just as good as the original MOR album in my opinion.

I mean, just look at the songs here. “Dr. Feelgood”, “Unskinny Bop”, “I Remember You”, “I Wanna Rock”, “Wait”, “Bang Your Head”, “Hole Hearted”, “Don’t Treat Me Bad”… It’s a hair metal dream! Even the odd inclusion of Queensryche and Faith No More is welcomed because those are killer songs.

The album takes me back to my youth. No, not the ’80s but the year 2000 when I bought this album and my girlfriend at the time loved it because it had Lita Ford’s “Kiss Me Deadly” on it. I still remember her getting all excited when she heard it for the first time in years.

Just a great “feelgood” album filled with major acts and songs.

LITA FORD – Wicked Wonderland

Lita Ford – Wicked Wonderland (2009, JLRG Entertainment)

1. “Crave” … 3:46
2. “Piece (Hell Yeah)” … 3:42
3. “Patriotic SOB” … 4:33
4. “Scream 4 Me” … 3:58
5. “Inside” … 4:13
6. “Wicked Wonderland” … 3:50
7. “Indulge” … 4:43
8. “Love” … 5:31
9. “Sacred” … 3:58
10. “Betrayal” … 4:34
11. “Truth” … 3:56
12. “Everything” … 3:36
13. “Bed” … 6:51
BONUS TRACKS
14. “Garden” … 4:06
15. Push” … 4:17

Musicians:
Lita Ford – Vocals, Lead Guitar
Jim Gillette – Vocals
Greg Hampton – Bass, Synth, Rhythm Guitar
Stet Howland – Drums (Tracks 2-10, 12-15)
Chris Collier – Drums (Tracks 1 & 11)

Produced by: Greg Hampton, Jim Gillette and Lita Ford

Okay, let’s get this out of the way — musically, this isn’t “Kiss Me Deadly” Lita Ford. If that’s what you were expecting and wanting, sorry, it’s not here. Pop-Metal Queen Lita is gone and has been replaced by a Lita Ford that owes more to Rob Zombie than Motley Crue (don’t worry, she’s still hot).

15 years ago, Lita walked away from the music industry to concentrate on her family life and she has returned with a sex-charged album that is heavier than anything she’s done before and many songs are in the industrial metal vibe. Her voice is still in top form, as is Jim Gillette’s voice (husband & former Nitro front man). Jim makes an appearance on all of the tracks either sharing co-vocals with Lita or providing backing vocals.

Once this album was announced, I was happily waiting for it. Then “Crave” was released online and to be honest, I didn’t care for it. I could not get Rob Zombie out of my head and it was not what I was expecting from her at all. After a few more listens, the song started to grow on me though. That’s basically what this whole album is — a grower.

I can understand where it would be hard for any die hard Lita/glam fan to immediately dive into this album with arms wide open. Speaking personally, after giving this album a few listens, I’ve been able to pick it apart and my “favorites” list of songs from this album is beginning to build. There’s some really good moments here and some nice guitar playing from Lita. The album does have three songs that immediately grabbed me though: “Piece (Hell Yeah)”, “Scream 4 Me” and the trippy ballad “Sacred”.

Even if this isn’t the sound people are expecting from Lita, you have to give her credit for staying true to herself and doing what feels right to her instead of half-heartedly trying to ride the nostalgia train in an attempt to give us the “classic sound”. My final verdict is that Wicked Wonderland is an unforeseen yet enjoyable journey into new terrain for the Metal Queen.

As a side note — I have to say I really love the artwork and the photos of Lita. It’s dark, it’s edgy, it’s rock ‘n’ roll and when you toss Lita into the mix, she gives the whole theme just the right amount of soft ‘n’ sexy.

Highlights: “Piece (Hell Yeah)”, “Scream 4 Me”, “Inside”, “Indulge”, “Love”, “Sacred”, “Bed”

www.litaxx.tv
www.myspace.com/litaford

MONSTER BALLADS XMAS

Various Artists – Monster Ballads Xmas (2007, Razor & Tie Direct)

Track Listing:
1. “Jingle Bells” – Skid Row … 3:02
2. “Happy Christmas (War Is Over)” – Winger … 4:06
3. “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” – Jani Lane … 3:35
4. “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” – Twisted Sister (w/ Lita Ford) … 4:09
5. “White Christmas” – Queensryche … 2:28
6. “Run Rudolph Run” – L.A. Guns … 3:10
7. “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” – FireHouse … 3:07
8. “Naughty Naughty Christmas” – Danger Danger … 4:56
9. “Blue Christmas” – Tom Keifer … 4:15
10. “Jingle Bell Rock” – Nelson … 2:52
11. “Silent Night” – Faster Pussycat … 4:13
12. “Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town” – Dokken … 4:01
13. “Happy Holidays” – Enuff Z’Nuff … 4:23
14. “Winter Wonderland” – Stryper … 3:34
15. “Christmas Love” – Billy Idol … 3:57

Produced by: Michael Anderson & Beka Callaway

Another album in the long-running Monster series from Razor & Tie, this time with a Christmas theme, although calling it “Monster Ballads Xmas” doesn’t make much since because most of these songs are not ballads. Why not just “Monster Xmas“? Or get really old school with “Monsters of Rock Xmas“?

Anyway, I picked the year of it’s release at Target, of all places. It’s a decent release, though it pales in comparison to 2008’s excellent We Wish You a Metal Xmas and a Headbanging New Year from Armoury Records.

I don’t have to tell you that Faster Pussycat, as always with compilations and cover albums, sticks out like a sore thumb here with their more recent and improved industrial sound. Just an awful rendition of “Silent Night”. What is it with “Silent Night” getting so screwed up on these metal Xmas compilations? Queensryche does a pretty bad version of “White Christmas” as well. Geoff Tate’s voice sounds horrible here. Like someone trying to sound like Edguy’s Tobias Sammett but totally failing.

Dokken’s version of “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town” is actually pretty funny to me because of the fact that it sounds EXACTLY like a Dokken song. They totally made it their own and you’d swear Don wrote the song himself.

Twisted Sister’s Jay Jay French, certainly inspired by the Christmas spirit after the success of A Twisted Christmas, executive produced.

Highlights: “Happy Christmas (War is Over)”, “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”, “I’ll Be Home for Christmas”, “Naught Naughty Christmas”, “Blue Christmas”, “Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town”, “Happy Holiday”

YOUTH GONE WILD: Heavy Metal Hits of the 80’s, Volume 2

YOUTH GONE WILD: HEAVY METAL HITS OF THE 80′S, VOLUME 2 (1996, Rhino Records)

Track Listing:
1. “Rock Me” – Great White (7:18)
2. “Heaven Tonight” – Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force (4:07)
3. “The Final Countdown” – Europe (5:10)
4. “Over My Head” – King’s X (4:49)
5. “Goin’ Crazy!” – David Lee Roth (3:09)
6. “It’s Not Love” – Dokken (5:01)
7. “Seventeen” – Winger (4:06)
8. “Poison Ivy” – Faster Pussycat (4:27)
9. “Gotta Let Go” – Lita Ford (4:40)
10. “I Want Out” – Helloween (4:41)
11. “I’m On to You” – Hurricane (3:59)
12. “Edge of a Broken Heart” – Vixen (4:24)
13. “Dreams in the Dark” – Badlands (3:30)
14. “Wild Thing” – Sam Kinison (4:29)

Rhino’s Youth Gone Wild compilation series essentially peaked with Volume 1, which was loaded with big names and big hits. It’s curious as to how they decided the track placement for the first three volumes because they were all released on the same day, yet Vol. 2 & 3 suffer with a lack of names & hits. Perhaps they figured since people would probably start with Volume 1 they should load the deck for that particular album?

That’s not to say this is a bad album, in fact, it’s very good and it’s the Youth Gone Wild album that I’m most familiar with. A friend of mine owned this and I borrowed it for many months playing it nonstop back in ’97 or so.

The album gets off to a great start with the hair metal classic “Rock Me” by Great White. The song is a slow burn rocker which then explodes about halfway through. Diamond Dave makes an appearance with the infectious “Goin’ Crazy!”, and Vixen, Winger and Europe bring their biggest hits to the table. “Poison Ivy” by Faster Pussycat is just pure sleaze rock ‘n’ roll fun and turned me into a huge FP fan.

Here, the artist selection starts to get a bit weird and that theme continues for the following albums. King’s X & Helloween seem somewhat out of place here (although both turn in decent rockers). Sam Kinison’s “Wild Thing” also feels strangely out of place. It may have the metal cred (many 80s rock/metal superstars appeared on the track and/or in the video), but I can’t help but think that’s one more track that could’ve been devoted to an actual band.

Volume 2 doesn’t compare to Volume 1, but it’s certainly worth a listen.

Highlights: “Rock Me”, “The Final Countdown”, “Goin’ Crazy!”, “It’s Not Love”, “Seventeen”, “Poison Ivy”, “I Want Out”, “I’m On to You”, “Edge of a Broken Heart”, “Dreams in the Dark”

Lowlights: “Wild Thing”

%d bloggers like this: