Hollywood has a running list of actors and actresses who attempt to extend their talents to the music industry. For some inexplicable reason, it seems that they believe having a music career is a right. It is not a right, but a choice. Many unfortunately choose to enter the music arena on the expense of everyone's ears. As a result, a long list of failures has ensued, which includes Keanu Reeves of Dogstar. Added to the list should be all those teen queens, who are marketed to an audience that does not know better, claiming to be triple threats. Ten to twelve year-old prepubescent boys and girls will beg to differ.
Since the beginning of Juliette Lewis's acting career, she has confessed that a rock and roll career has always been on her mind. It appears that she has schemed and manipulated her way to her goal. During the long wait time, she allowed artist influences to boil and simmer in her gray matter. By the time she broke out of her shell, she caught roughly onto her influences. She does not pop quite like Iggy Pop, is not as cool as Patti Smith, is not as messed up as Courtney Love, and is not as edgy as the Sex Pistols. In case you are wondering, the debut album You're Speaking My Language does not suck completely-there is something to salvage. After all, there is not a single track on Lewis's debut that she can take complete credit for.
The Licks definitely upstage Lewis with their obvious musical experience and background. How much she contributes to each song is questionable. By ear, Lewis only brings her inflective snarl and weak lyrics to the table. The lyrics are merely words bound up in phrases that are quite quotidian-not touching, not radical, not anything. They certainly cannot be compared to Patti Smith's poetic masterpieces. Brawny guitars and heavy beats assert themselves in 'You're Speaking My Language,' while Lewis screeches 'I beat your dog 'cause he hit on my cat,' 'all the boys and all the girls quit your drugs,' and 'keep your trigger loaded while you're rockin' and rollin'.' Adding a few phrases in between those excerpts does not contribute an ounce of logic to the lyrics.
Variety in songs is one of the few things that save the debut album from falling apart. Ballads 'This I Know' and 'By the Heat of Your Light' bring out a mix of immaturity and vulnerability in Lewis and unfortunately they also damper the artistic ability of the Licks-the guitars can only moan in sorrow. 'Got Love to Kill' picks up on a heavy 80's influence with its jiving bass, while the fast and intense strumming in 'So Amazing' plays more of a punk attitude.
Invited to play at last summer's Warped Tour, Juliette and the Licks got a lot of attention for their live sets. They might put on a great show, but their music is not on par. The Licks are pulling most of the weight and outshining Lewis all over the place. Ms. Lewis, do not quit your day job just yet-you still have several kinks to work out before your next attempt-and hope that your band does not give up on you.
3.9 / 10
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