Welcome to the musical meandering insights of Aaron Joy. Here you'll find 600 reviews of CDs & DVDs of rock & metal in all its variations, mainstream & indie. What they all share is that the album or band is unique in some way & not every submission was reviewed. Please share these reviews or link to them if you like what you read. Reviews are no longer being posted here but feel free to e-mail Aaron & post comments. (Formerly the Roman Midnight Music Blog)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Lisa Marie Presley ~ Now What

(Click on heading to visit official website.)
Style: alt rock
Label: Capitol Records
Year: 2005
Home: California

Members: Lisa Marie Presley ~ vocals/programming
Michael Lockwood, Stuart Mathis, Robert Bishop, Nick Lashley, Lyle Workman ~ guitar
Zak Rae, Eric Rosse, Roger Manning ~ piano
Paul Bushnell, Chris Chaney ~ bass
Matt Chamberlain, Josh Freeze, Abraham Laboriel Jr., Joey Waronker ~ drums
Drew Hester ~ percussion
Howard Willing ~ drum effects

Additional: Suzie Katayama, Larry Corbett, Cameron Stone ~ cello
Mario De Leon, Armen Garabedian, Berg Garabedian, Julian Hallmark, Audrey Solomon, Josefine Vergara, John Wittenberg, Joel Derouin ~ violin
Matt Funes, Evan Wilson ~ viola
LMP ~ voice

Guest: Pink ~ vocals
Steve Jones ~ guitar

There's a group of musicians who took to the stage largely under their influence of famous musician parents. That's not saying they wouldn't be otherwise, but how many of them would find other careers if their parents had anonymous 9-5 jobs or a non-disposal income not created from royalties. These childstars tend to fall into a couple broad categories, briefly: A) they're a talented musician on their own who largely follow their parents music style if not the same instrument (i.e. Anoushka Shankar, the Pizzarelli family, Dweezil Zappa, Arlo Guthrie, Hank Williams, Jr.), or B) a talented musician on their own & demonstrating it by playing music different than their parent (i.e. Wilson Philips, Jakob Dylan, Rufus Wainwright, Norah Jones) or C) a musician who seemingly has little to offer in terms of individual style (i.e. Kelly Osbourne) or just hasn't developed it yet (i.e. Alexa Ray Joel, Dhani Harrison) but largely gets the gig because of the name. This last category are the questionable folks who one hopes eventually move into another category. Sadly, regardless of musicianship or style fans always look at these musicians in terms of their parents. Is Alexa Ray Joel as good of a song writer or pianist as her father Billy? Norah Jones might not play the sitar like her near guru father Ravi Shanker & half-sister, but is she as dedicated to her respective craft? Does Dhani Harrison have anything to say other than the spiritual idlings of her father George? We shouldn't ask these questions but it's hard not to. Of course, it's nearly impossible to look at Lisa Marie Presley in light of her father who had not just a very individual sound & image but also helped create rock'n'roll. The gender difference is almost trivial. So, given such a shadow one is forced to look at LMP via her own efforts & merits. Personally, if it wasn't for her name I probably wouldn't pick up this album in the first place. It's multi-layered studio created moody power pop a la Pink, versus a band hacking it out in the clubs. For those that enjoy such music you can do a lot worse than checking out this follow up to her debut. For those looking for something a little more original disappointment will abound. Ignoring the long list of studio musicians the album sounds like a group of top-notch group of musicians & producers, including former 4 Non Blondes singer Linda Perry as co-writer on a majority of the tracks, got together to craft something big & bold in an Alanis Morissette sort of way but without the jagged edges to disguise LMP lack of any original or sound of her own. Her voice is mellow but not with any great range or distinguishable features, almost ironic considering who the co-writer is. It's almost too easy to write the affair off & miss the fact that LMP wrote all the lyrics & has actually attempted to put some personal gusto behind it all. The title of the album says a lot towards the mood, as does the opening song "I'll Figure It Out" with the line "It took me all my life/to finally figure it out/that i'm not in the mood/to be anything like you" which very well could be a nod to the shadow of her father. This is not a happy album with the songs largely ranting against those who've hurt her or tried to make her into something she's not with numerous cuss words to make the point & meriting a parental advisory sticker on what one might expect to be a tame affair following her debut. Also features, within the theme, Don Henley's "Dirty Laundry" & the Ramones "Here Today, Gone Tomorrow" featuring Sex Pistol Steve Jones on guitar. LMP's lyrics & message make this a much stronger album than it first appears, sadly the music remains far too unoriginal to match & dulls down what could be a much raunchier affair. Now What is a better then LMP's debut To Whom It May Concern with a harder edge but next time make it harder & less polished, until then LMP is a childstar who has something she wants to say but hasn't figured out the right format. Don't give up hope on her though cause she's trying. Actually, I'd hire her a lyric writer to some other musician.


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