What were you doing when you were 16? Skipping school? Falling in love for the first time? Learning to drive a car? Starting your very first job? Well, if you were Lita Ford, you were joining an all girl band called The Runaways and making history. The band broke up in 1979 and Lita began her solo career. Her most successful album was 1988’s Lita and it made her an MTV favorite.
She stayed out of the limelight for quite a few years and made her return in 2009 with Wicked Wonderland. Here we are three years later and with a new label to call home and this iconic rocker is poised to bring the noise to a whole new generation. Her new album Living like a Runaway is set to be released on June 19 through SPV/Steamhammer Records. Lita promised late last year that this album was going to a “real comeback album” for her. Well, let’s see if it lives up to that promise.
The album kicks off with “Branded” and it definitely sounds like old school Lita. It’s one of the many songs on the album whose lyrics are very personal to Lita and touches on abuse, which she was experiencing in her previous marriage. My attention was captivated with the fourth track which is the title track. An autobiographical song in which it seems to focus more on the story telling aspect of the song, rather than just rocking out. A tender and delicate song about living on the edge and one of the best that Lita has ever recorded in her long career.
A Lita Ford album just wouldn’t be complete without a power ballad. “Mother” starts out as an acoustic number that just soars on both a musical and lyrical level. The guitars come cranking in on the solo and deliver in a big way before switching back to an acoustic finish. It was written for her two children after a nasty divorce from her former husband Jim Gillette. “Devil in My Head” is another great song with a great guitar riff that drives the song home.
“Asylum” has big 80s written all over it. You have to love the dual guitar wailing away on the solos in unison. “A Song to Slit Your Wrists By” was written by Nikki Sixx of Motley Crue and is one of the more interesting ones on the album. It almost takes on a sort of industrial feel at times. I’m not sure if that’s how Nikki intended for the song to sound like or not. Lita said it was the ultimate good riddance song.
Lita recorded a killer version of the Elton John classic “The Bitch is Back”, complete with the Uptown Horns. Elton gave her his blessing to do the song and her version is pretty amazing. The only bad part is that it’s only available on the limited edition Digi-pak version as a bonus track. It’s too bad that it was included in the regular CD release as this song could have garnered a lot of media attention for her. Who knows? It may still do just that!
Lita is going through a major life transition with her divorce and fighting for custody of her two children. That emotional baggage is apparent in many of the songs on this album. She has stated that she was inspired for this album by Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon. It’s a musical journey in its entirety and not just a few individual songs. This album is much better than her comeback album Wicked Wonderland. It may not put her back on top like she was in the late 80s, but it’s a giant step toward regaining ground on that spot that she once held.