Lisa Marie Presley - Now What
1 1/2 stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: May 22, 2005
Review by Andy ArgyrakisForget that she was Elvis' daughter and was once married to Michael Jackson. That's all been discussed before and gossiped about incessantly ever since Lisa Marie Presley debuted two years ago with To Whom It May Concern (and throughout her whole life for that matter). Though that disc may not have done gangbusters on the charts, nor did it earn the most positive reviews on the planet, it did go gold and introduce everyone to her singer/songwriter side. Despite all the wise cracks, comments and skepticism, the star took to the road and showed there was at least some substance under the style and celebrity. And here she is again, ready to roll the dice for a second time with the aptly titled Now What?, featuring even more original offerings and remnants of her unshakable lineage.
Rather than assessing it on all of the hoopla, one must look directly at the music itself and determine if Presley's level of pop/rock output is destined to appeal with the masses. Although she does run into a string of radio friendly luck, it's often times watered down to a bland, near pedestrian degree that most serious artistic connoisseurs wouldn't even consider for their play lists. Teaming up with Pink for the duet "Shine" was the first mistake, sounding like it came straight out of a teenage sitcom rather than from a serious songwriter. As the two battle back and fourth for time in front of the microphone, they whine about every cliche under the sun- from dreams to love to relationships. Such sappiness spills over onto the sultry but superfluous rocker "Turned To Black" and the drably arranged "Turbulence."
Presley does turn up a more suitable card, covering the extremely appropriate Don Henley song "Dirty Laundry." Considering all the media scrutiny she receives, lines like "Kick 'em when they're up/ Kick 'em when they're down/ Kick 'em when they're up/ Kick 'em all around" are delivered with insistence. It's too bad that verve doesn't transfer to cuts like the pseudo-punk of "Idiot" or the pumped up adult contemporary of "Thanx" (two of the five songs she co-wrote with Linda Perry of Four Non-Blondes fame). Even the former's guitar line with the Sex Pistols' Steve Jones comes across as stale and artificial. Such a wide array of misfires doesn't establish Presley on her own two feet as an artist, nor does this career move add any essential chapters to her otherwise compelling real life saga.
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