I don't know when I realized it. I think it was when Lisa Loeb's video
for "Stay" was in heavy rotation three years ago on MTV, before she had
even released an album. Lisa stalking around a Manhattan loft, looking so
sassy in those catwomany glasses. I pictured
myself fitting right into her Bohemian pad, feeding that cat and offering
to polish Lisa's lenses every time we come in from the rain.
I had a crush on Lisa Loeb.
But years go by. Lisa's debut, Tails, went largely unnoticed by the
mass American audience, much to my sinister delight. More Lisa for me.
Loeb went on to tour with Lyle Lovett, Counting Crows, and all the Lilith Fair
sisters, and didn't even fall prey to Lovett's black magic. Meanwhile, I meet
the most incredible girl in the universe, but she's named Beverly, not Lisa, as I always thought she would be. I forgot about Lisa. Life goes on.
So today I opened my mailbox, and found Lisa Loeb's newest release,
Firecracker, waiting for me. I'd heard the poppy single "I Do" on the
radio, but I couldn't make myself get the album. It's kind of like how
Bailey can't get too close to the booze on "Party of Five," lest he relapse
into his alcoholism. I was scared, but I gingerly dropped Firecracker
into the CD player.
Loeb's strength lies mainly in her production partner Juan Patino, who
collaborated on both albums with her. Between the two of them, Loeb and
Patino do a great job of churning out smart and accessible pop nuggets;
four- minute chunks of love, life and heart that don't leave you needing
sherbet to cleanse your palette in between tracks.
Songs like "Wishing Heart" and "Furious Rose" show growth both in Loeb's
songwriting and her production techniques, mixing orchestral movements
with about 30 vocal parts and layering more dueling guitars than I can
seperate. "Dance With The Angels" is a salsa flavored toe- tapper, while
"How" is a slow builder that eventually radiates into a warm sunset. Alas,
your ears can get Loeb-ed out if you aren't careful; so sweet are these
And so I was talking to Beverly on the phone tonight. I
casually mentioned that I'd gotten the new Lisa Loeb CD, and as far as I could
tell, no eyebrows were raised. She doesn't know about me and Lisa, about
what we used to have. I hung up the phone and turned on the TV and caught
the tail end of "I Do" on VH-1... the part where she's squirming around
on pink shag carpeting, not wearing any pants.
Here we go again.