It’s no coincidence that Lita Ford‘s eight solo album is the first to reference her time in The Runaways in its title. Living Like A Runaway is the sound of an artist recognising that the best way forwards usually means acknowledging your past.
Ford was the other guitarist in the famous all-girl rock group, along with Joan Jett, and while she hasn’t had the successes of her former band mate, she’s kept on plugging away and generally making really good albums. Last time out though, on 2009′s Wicked Wonderland, she strayed a bit too far from the path.
They say that the best art comes from pain, and certainly Wicked Wonderland suffered for being made by a happily-married woman who wanted to boast about what great sex she was having with her husband. Set to industrial rock noise, it was an ok album, but was presumably more fun to make than listen to.
Since then, she’s suffered a messy and acrimonious divorce amidst the wreckage of an aborted reality TV show. With her past life played out on the big screen by Scout Taylor Compton in the movie The Runaways, it’s no surprise that she’s found solace from rocking out old school style on this new album.
It’s also no surprise that the lyrics are pretty angry, and while you’d be pushed to call songs like Branded, The Mask and Love 2 Hate U ‘art’, they are certainly a load of fun. Unless you’re her ex-husband, in which case you might be shifting in your seat listening to them, because Ford is decidedly not happy with him, judging by the bile-spitting lyrics.
Things get even more personal on Mother, which seems to be an entirely honest and frank plea to her children to forgive her for what they’ve been through. Lita Ford may not have got a reality TV show (unlike her former manager Sharon Osbourne, of course), but she’s not letting that get in the way of airing her dirty linen in public, and it’s uncomfortable for us all when she closes the album with a cover of Nikki Sixx‘s A Song To Slit Your Wrists By.
Of course, it’s horrible that Ford has been through such awful times over recent years, and an artistic rebirth isn’t anywhere near consolation for it; it never is. But she can still be very proud of what is almost certainly her best solo release to date, and certainly the one that sounds most timeless, as well as standing up well to her work in The Runaways. Sometimes you really do have to go back to move forwards and this is a big step.
Over here in the UK, reality TV talent show winners don't have a fantastic pedigree, with The X-Factor, Pop Idol and now The Voice getting lots of press but producing very few real talents. Certainly no solo artist who could hold a candle to American Idol winner Carrie Underwood and her latest album Blown Away shows why.