What’s the Rockbrat Listening To Today? LITA FORD – Living Like A Runaway (2012)

I am old enough to remember buying Lita Ford albums in 1985. Man, Mr. Rockbrat and I played the ‘Dressed To Kill’ album to death. We had some live footage from Lita of the song ‘Dressed To Kill’ and the video clip of “Gotta Let Go” which we taped off Beatbox back then which we watched over and over.  For a long long time, Mr Rockbrat only ever gave a damn about two bands – KI$$ and the Runaways, so it goes without saying that he was a devotee of Mr. Ford.  Twenty seven, (is it really that long?) years later, the black widow with the BC Rich Warlock is BACK in a big way with this, her new album in many years. And what a great album it is, without a shadow of a doubt – her best ever album. The songs are crafted and distinctive, her vocals are better than they’ve ever been, and her playing is superb. The theme or script  to the album is Ford’s acrimonious divorce. After several spins, she gives the listener a clear message that ex husband Jim Gillette is a blue ribbon jackass. Yet it’s not my intention to pass judgement on that. What is clear is that she has used the anger, pain and emotion to channel all her creative energy into creating an album of songs that are heavy rock of the finest order. Lyrically, it’s dark, and you can tell that she’s been through living hell. That’s testament to the writing process she went through to create this album, which involved working solidly for a year with producer Gary Hoey (Go check out the ‘Heavy Bones’ album he did in 1990 with Frankie Banali).  I have read some reviews that say Lita’s new album sounds like a throwback to the 80s’, but most of the reviews miss the point. This ain’t Helix singing about parties, beer and birds. This aint’ no Doro versus Lita debate either (put it away Coppen).  Sure, there’s a couple of riffs on here that are 80’s like, but that’s about it. Man, these lyrics are dark. If you didn’t know better, you’d say they were fictitious, but they aint.  In the opener ‘Branded”, with its cut throat riff, the opening line is “I Don’t Want To Fight With You No More”.  The scene is set. Killer tune, big hooks. The brooding “Hate” is another goodun, kinda reminiscent of something off KI$$’s ‘Carnival Of Souls’, but better than that. Comparisons are not needed for the songs best album, the title tune ‘Living Like  Runaway”, her ode to her time as a Runaway in 1977. Catchy as all hell, and one of the best songs Lita has ever penned. Perfect heavy pop (with a killer solo though). After going through such an ugly divorce, Lita is reminiscing and reaching back to fond times as a Runaway – and why the hell not ? Why shouldn’t she? She was so poorly represented in that film with Dakota Fanning, she has every right to reach out for her past. Word is she’s been trying to get something happening with Joan Larkin, and she recently did a video with Vicki Blue producing – so who knows? Never say never. Not too sure who would fill the drum stool though –  Roxy Petrucci? Anyway, the heavy wah on ‘Relentless’ I also dug, whilst ‘ Devil In My Head’ with its down tuning is just sheer brutal. The likeable, infectious heavy pop of ‘Love To Hate You’ is the surprise of the album, highlighted by Gary Hoey sharing lead and harmony vocals. Catchy, radio friendly and the ideal second single. ‘Mother’ is  plaintive, emotive and a message to her children – and it is utterly superb.  ‘Asylum’ is another high point. With it’s symphonic opening lines and melodious riff, I was thinking Maiden circa 1981 or 82– that’s endorsement enough. Again, lyrically, it paints the tale of the living hell she has been through in recent years, but musically – man this smokes.  Two thumbs up from Cowboy Col – 8.5 out of 10. Amazing album, one of the top ten albums of 2012. http://litafordonline.com/

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