Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Lisa Ronson

I had been wanting to listen to Lisa Ronson's record ever since I read the rave review in Uncut claiming "not one bad song." I realize I should take that statement with a grain of salt, especially after perusing their "200 Best Records Of All Time" list, where all you need to know is that The Smiths "The Queen Is Dead" came in at #8, higher than 192 other records including "Rubber Soul," "Exile On Main Street," "Kind Of Blue" and "What's Going On." But let me not fall down that rat hole.

Lisa Ronson is Mick Ronson's daughter, and the subject of the old Ian Hunter radio staple "Lisa Likes Rock N Roll." Her new release "Emperors Of Medieval Japan" features a few David Bowie family members including guitarists Earl Slick and Reeves Gabrels, as well as Mott The Hoople keyboardist Morgan Fisher.  I just had to.

I am not disappointed.

Intentionally or not, "Emperors Of Medieval Japan" sounds like a journey through various stages of David Bowie's career. There are elements of the Berlin Trilogy, some upbeat electronica not unlike what is found on both "Earthling" and "Heathen," and some big balls rock sounding a bit like Tin Machine, all with Ronson's very Siouxsie Sioux approach to singing.

It's too early to tell if "Emperors..." has any lasting power. The songs themselves could use a bit of work, but as a record, I was engaged for two full passes.

The title track is up top and the track below, "Get To You," features the aforementioned Mr. Slick on guitar.


cmealha said...

I've been listening at work and I agree with you. She has been listening to Bowie. A lot. Interesting. I need to listen when I'm not distracted but definitely worth a listen. Do you know who produced?

P.S. I love "Lisa Likes Rock n Roll"

Sal Nunziato said...

Produced by Paul Cuddeford. Check him out.

cmealha said...

So I listened again and I liked it a lot. The only problem was Lisa herself. The music and production were first rate and I found myself wishing she'd keep quiet every time she opened her mouth. She's not a horrible singer but she's not a very engaging one either. She brought nothing to the table, as far as her singing is concerned. Not sure how involved she was otherwise. It reminds me of the band Extreme. I bought one of their albums. The music was great but it was consistently undermined by Gary Cherone inability to find anything resembling a melody line. The real start here is Paul Cuddeford and I will check him out.

Sal Nunziato said...

I hear what you're saying, cmealha, but here's what I hear. The difference between Gary Cherone of Extreme and Lisa Ronson is that Cherone is supposed to be a singer and the bottom line is that he is horrible. I don't think Lisa Ronson or anyone involved expected much more from her. I'm not sure I'd want to hear some seasoned rock vocalist over this type of music. I don't disagree, she is the weak link, but it still manages to work for me.

William Repsher said...

Sidenote: just read that Ian Hunter will have a 30-some CD box set coming out this year featuring all his solo albums ... and what must be all material he has recorded, live or otherwise as there's no way he put out 30 albums. I'd love to indulge in something like this, but it will have to be cost prohibitive to all but the most rabid fans. Just having bonus tracks on each album, or in the case of Short Back N Sides a second disc of demos and outtakes seemed like an indulgence.

buzzbabyjesus said...

I was on board until she started to sing. No there there.

cmealha said...

Re: Gary Cherone
He is not just horrible. He is the most horrible.

Re: Lisa Ronson
I wasn't thinking seasoned vocalist but as you mentioned yesterday, someone like Siouxsie or someone else who's not necessarily a great singer but has somewhat of a vocal character. Anyway, I'm keeping it in my music. She hasn't turned me off to it completely.