archive : A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z sdtk comp
Cover Art Lisa Loeb
Rating: 8.8

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 songs.

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.

-Lang Whitaker

Sound Clip:
"I Do"



10.0: Indispensable, classic
9.5-9.9: Spectacular
9.0-9.4: Amazing
8.5-8.9: Exceptional; will likely rank among writer's top ten albums of the year
8.0-8.4: Very good
7.5-7.9: Above average; enjoyable
7.0-7.4: Not brilliant, but nice enough
6.0-6.9: Has its moments, but isn't strong
5.0-5.9: Mediocre; not good, but not awful
4.0-4.9: Just below average; bad outweighs good by just a little bit
3.0-3.9: Definitely below average, but a few redeeming qualities
2.0-2.9: Heard worse, but still pretty bad
1.0-1.9: Awful; not a single pleasant track
0.0-0.9: Breaks new ground for terrible

All material is copyright