Album Reviews

Lita Ford – Living Like a Runaway Review

Released by: Steamhammer/SPV

Release Date: June 18th, 2012

Genre: Rock

Links: http://www.litafordonline.com/

 

Line Up:

Lita Ford – vocals, guitar and keyboards

Gary Hoey – guitar, bass, keyboards and background vocals

Matt Scurfield – drums

 

Tracklist:

01. Branded

02. Hate

03. The Mask

04. Living Like A Runaway

05. Relentless

06. Mother

07. Devil In My Head

08. Asylum

09. Love 2 Hate U

10. A Song To Slit Your Wrists By

Digipak Bonus Tracks:

11. Bad Neighborhood

12. The Bitch Is Back

iTunes Bonus Track:

11. Boiling Point

 

I’m very pleased to announce that I don’t hate the new Lita Ford album Living Like A Runaway (SPV/Steamhammer.) It’s definitely a step in the right direction compared to her last abortion Wicked Wonderland, an album I hated immensely. I’ve been a fan and supporter of Ford’s since her second album Dancin’ On The Edge when I discovered her music. I’d read about her often in magazines like Circus and Hit Parader, but it wasn’t until her sophomore release that I finally got the chance to hear what she sounded like. I’ve been a rabid fan since and up to Black. For whatever reason she decided to step away from the sound she had forged for years to try something different. I can’t necessarily fault a performer from taking risks and experimenting some, because every once in a while it works for them. In Lita’s case- not so much.

I readily admit that I was a horny teenager with her posters planted firmly on the ceiling above my bed. Clearly she’s drop dead gorgeous, and in fact still is. My attraction went much deeper. I actually liked the songs she played. I always felt she was such an underrated guitarist. She’s not a shredder per se like Yngwie, but her playing has always been tasteful and perfect. Sadly, her style change didn’t work. There are still shades of it on Living Like A Runaway, but there’s enough here that works for me that I can forgive it. And even when she goes into that industrial, darker mode it kind of works here whereas before it didn’t.

I had super high hopes with the last album. Lita’s triumphant return to the metal world was one I had longed for for a while, despite my distaste of the last album she did (Black.) When Wicked Wonderland came out I was so disappointed. In support of this album she went on the road with Queensryche, and in the middle of their set she came out and played about fifteen to twenty minutes. She opted to play mostly stuff from WW (obviously with such a short amount of time you’re going to promote the new album) and it was even worse live. She looked and sounded great, but the new songs were hideous (not to mention the fact of watching then husband Jim Gillette practically hump her on stage with their kids watching on was a bit creepy.) Needless to say I was very nervous about hitting play on the new one.

It had been touted as a return to her roots. Most of the time when an artist makes this statement a return to roots means the complete opposite. For a change, most of Living Like A Runaway is a return to what brought her to prominence. Yes, there are moments where she clings tenaciously to being current and hip, but she shines better on tracks like “Living Like A Runaway,” “Branded,” “Relentless,” and “Love 2 Hate U” where it’s stripped down, straight ahead hard rock. The rest of the album leans more towards what she’s attempted on the last couple albums, but the performances salvage them and they’re better focused and aren’t bad songs like on the prior two albums. In fact, none of the songs I would classify as awful- just not my style. For me the best track on the album is the beautiful ballad “Mother.” The passion and emotion she provides on this track tugs at the heart, and you can tell just how personal a song it is.

Thanks in part to folks like Gary Hoey, Nikki Sixx, Doug Aldrich, and lyricist Michael Dan Ehmig, Lita has put together an overall great album. One statement that Lita has said about the album is that it’s an album, not just a collection of songs. Though not a concept in the traditional sense, the songs tell a story that’s very personal to her, and therefore the album should be taken as a whole piece. I’ve actually listened to it several times in a row now and it gets better with each listen, so be warned: it’s a grower. So welcome back Lita! You’ve certainly been missed.

 

Written by Chris

Ratings    Chris    7/10

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