I’m not sure what possessed me, but I listened to Lita Ford’s 1988 album Lita in full via Spotify last night while was laying in bed trying to fall asleep. If it’s surprising to you that I would try to fall asleep while listening to late 80s pop-metal, it really shouldn’t. My daughter always looks at me with this puzzled look on her face whenever she finds out that I’ve been listening to upbeat dance music as I fall asleep because she listens to Kate Bush’s Aerial every single night as she goes to sleep. I’m pretty sure the songs on that album have over 1000 plays on her iPod. Really, it doesn’t matter to me what the music is that I’m listening to. If they made it, I can probably sleep to it. Putting my iPod on shuffle and falling asleep to it can prompt some of the strangest dreams.
In any event, I bought Lita on cassette right around my 16th birthday in 1988, mostly on the strength of the ubiquitous hit single “Kiss Me Deadly” which I was surprised to find was NOT a Top 10 hit – peaking at #12 the week of June 18, 1988. Well, no matter – it was enough of an MTV staple that I swear I heard it a million times a day. My friend Rick introduced me to the song as his musical tastes tended less toward cheesy pop and more toward manly rock-and-roll. I was intrigued because this excursion outside my normal musical taste was performed by a female artist. That kind of thing, even now, gets my attention. And then there was the naughty factor of “Kiss Me Deadly.” Its lyrics featured things like “I went to a party last Saturday night/I didn’t get laid, I got in a fight” and “Had a few beers/Gettin’ high/Sittin’ and watchin’ the time go by.” At 15, that kind of stuff was the height of awesome and so clearly I was hooked.
So I bought the album having only heard “Kiss Me Deadly.” I was so excited to get it. I saved up money from my non-existent job so that I could afford to buy it and as I mentioned, the week of my 16th birthday I went and bought it.
And I was disappointed. It was so much harder-rock than I was expecting. In hindsight, I don’t know what I was expecting. It was a hard album to get into. I remember thinking that I had made a horrible mistake. Buying an album isn’t like it is now – it was a significant investment of money that I had to scrape together.
I eventually warmed up to the album, but I still don’t have the whole thing in my iTunes library. Listening to it last night, I found that time has been kind to Lita. While it is definitely in the hard rock vein, to say that it isn’t cheesy pop is ignoring the obvious. Sure, it’s got a lot of heavy guitars instead of synths and Lita sounds like she’s smoked 700 packs of Marlboros before going into the recording studio, but this isn’t Anthrax or Iron Maiden or anything like that. This is metal-pop or pop-metal or whatever you want to call it. Most of the songs are still pretty melodic and Lita actually sings instead of screaming on (or off) pitch. Am I more forgiving because she’s female? Probably. So sue me. The more I think about it, the more I realize that Lita was kind of a 1988 version of Ke$ha and “Kiss Me Deadly” nothing more than “Tik Tok” in beta.
I found that I can get the whole album on eMusic for less than $5.00 which is significantly less than I spent the first time around. I have a few songs from the album courtesy of Napster, but I feel like I should really buy it again. Because really, it ain’t no big thing.