First of all, apologies for the lack of blogs recently. Not having a laptop for the last few weeks hasn't helped, although my social life (yes they exist!) has improved. It took me a while to choose something to review. My last two new album purchases (Haim and CHVRCHES excellent debuts) are ones that I'll be writing about for something in December that I do every year. So for now I'll leave you with a little something I've written for Lisa Loeb's 1995 album 'Tails'.
The mid-90s were notable for the back end of grunge and the reformation of popular garage rock bands. Professional wailer Alanis Morissette was topping charts, and along came Lisa Loeb with a voice a little easier to stomach.
Opening track It's Over is an earnest pop ballad, which this album is certainly not short of. Lisa's tongue in cheek, cryptic lyrics are surprisingly easily relatable and her voice is easy on the ear. Snow Day opens with a twinkling guitar melody before the amp turns on and the drums kick in and the chorus weaves and changes pace. Taffy is a pure blood 90s pop rock song. All the fast/slow and quiet/loud dynamics are there and it belongs on everyone's driving songs mixtape.
When All The Stars Were Falling slows the pace down a bit but Lisa still keeps the same witty lyrics. Do You Sleep? Is a charming little early adolescent tale of love. Plus the chorus is catchy as hell. Hurricane is a simple acoustic track which actually shows off some seriously mature songwriting. The quiet middle section builds into a grand ending, making this a gem of an album track. Rose-Coloured Times is a funkier number and sees Loeb at her most wittiest. One of the best things about this album is even when she decides to be honest and bare a little soul, her songwriting never falters. Something that sadly lacks these days.
Sandalwood is one of my favourite tracks on the album. The instruments are stripped back to just Lisa's voice and an acoustic guitar. It's another simple love song. It's quiet but that doesn't mean it lacks feeling. The middle section gets a little more frantic, repeating the first verse. It really is a brilliant little song. Alone takes influence from the embers of grunge gone by. 'Why do I feel so alone?' She ponders, before breaking into a guitar riff Mr Cobain would be proud of. Waiting For Wednesday sounds like R.E.M and Goo Goo Dolls in their prime and would fit right in to any 90s movie soundtrack.
Lisa Listen is a clever little song from the perspective of someone else. Garden Of Delights is another fast paced funky number with a very guitar heavy chorus. This and the previous song are polar opposites which shows just how versatile Loeb can be. And now on to the final track Stay (I Missed You) which is arguably her best known song. It was her big break. It won her the accolade of being the first unsigned artist to top the Bilboard 100. It's incredibly radio friendly and is hands down the best song on the album. 'You say, I only hear what I want to' still stands as one of the most memorable opening lines in any song.
Tails is such an easy album to listen to. The lyrics are all clever and Loeb sings them so sincerely that its hard not to fall in love with her. It's an album to escape to, to paint tales of better days and most importantly to remind us that amidst the shit, the 1990s had some truly brilliant music.
Words by David Dring