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Released: 2009, JLRG Entertainment
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
So Lita Ford has decided to return to the music scene after a 14 year absence with a new album, WICKED WONDERLAND. In publicity for the album, Ford has cited this to be her “heaviest” and “sexiest” material to date. You’ll notice that the words “good” or “enjoyable” weren’t included in the description. While most hard rock fans will remember Ford for fist pumping anthems like “Kiss Me Deadly” and “Out for Blood,” WICKED WONDERLAND is a techno rock mess that wants to sound current, but is the farthest thing from anything remotely musically current. This album sounds like what many of the hair metal bands did in the 90s to try and remain relevant – updating their sound to something unfamiliar and uncomfortable (remember those releases on CMC Records?), and eventually reverting to a traditionally comfortable rock environment after realizing how embarrassing that period really was. The problem here is that Ford is a decade and a half behind the curve and she doesn’t realize it.
Let’s be frank – Ford was never the most prolific songwriter or performer. More of a novelty within a male dominated music scene, Ford is known for straightforward, catchy hard rock tunes. That being said, the songs on WICKED WONDERLAND are almost unlistenable. Ford has attempted to create a sexually tinged environment within the 15 songs, but there’s nothing remotely erotic or enticing here. Songs about loving it when she “shakes that ass” and spreading one’s legs come across as a desperate attempt to sound like she’s trying to sound sexy and raw, but in the way that your mom would try to sound sexy and raw. Are you uncomfortable yet? Good, because so was I listening to this trainwreck.
Ex-Nitro vocalist and “Mr. Lita Ford” Jim Gillette shares a lot of the vocal spotlight with Ford, which doesn’t help things. Again, Gillette was never the most prolific writer or performer either, but his contributions to the album just make things worse. Rather than give us any of the glass shattering histrionics that the guy was (almost) famous for, he phones in a gruff, tough guy voice who’s trying to sound like a dirty, sexy compliment to the misses, but sounds just as awkward in the process. Imagine your mom and dad talking dirty to each other to spice things up. It’s that unsexy. Are you still uncomfortable? Well you should be.
Musically, the album is entirely forgettable, full of techno flavored effects and generic industrial-lite guitar riffs. Ford’s voice is awash in layers, and layers, and layers of reverb and fog, which erases any of her remaining vocal charisma. Whether it’s because she doesn’t have the pipes anymore or somebody thought just thought it was a good idea, it makes a bad situation even worse. This album is so bad that I am embarrassed. Not embarrassed because of the pseudo sexually charged atmosphere, but embarrassed for Lita Ford herself. I’m embarrassed because she actually thought that WICKED WONDERLAND would put her back on the map. I’m embarrassed because she doesn’t realize how out of touch she is with her fans or the music community in general. I’m embarrassed because I sat through the whole album (several times) trying to find some redeeming value. Guess what? There isn’t any. Go buy yourself a greatest hits collection and forget that WICKED WONDERLAND ever happened.
Lita Ford – Vocals, Guitars
Jim Gillette – Vocals
Chris Collier - Drums
Stet Howland – Drums
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