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Stateless (...Plus)

Lene Lovich

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Album Review

One of Stiff Records' most stable staples, the truly alternative Lene Lovich laid much of the groundwork for an entire generation of singers left to pick up the pieces in the wasteland of the post-punk era. Her stunning debut, 1979's Stateless, was so unique, so vibrant, and her vocal stylings so unusual that the LP not only put her right at the front of the pack of nascent new wavers, it also sounded a commercial death knell of sorts, relegating her to the realms of novelty acts — at least as far as the mainstream was concerned. But that's not to say that the mainstream wasn't keeping an ear cocked. Re-recorded from the demo that landed her a deal in the first place, a unique rendering of the bubblegum puff piece "I Think We're Alone Now" provided such propulsion that its B-side, the now-classic "Lucky Number," was itself then re-recorded, to land Lovich a Number Three U.K. hit in early 1979. Elsewhere, the darkly sinister "Home" played off the rumors concerning Lovich's exotic Eastern European background (she was actually from Detroit, but she could fake a great accent). The piano-led Patti Smith-y "Too Tender (Too Touch)" allowed Lovich to explore a quieter corner, as did a sexy, sensuous rehash of fellow Stiff-er Nick Lowe's "Tonight." The rambunctious squeak of "Say When," on the other hand, not only tempered that mood but also scored Lovich another hit. While Stateless is certainly very much of its era, and well-placed in its time, inspired and adventurous songwriting coupled with a truly pioneering intent ensure that this LP will always remain the lit roadside marker that whispered "this way" to the hundreds of bands who followed.

Biography

Born: 30 March 1949 in Detroit, MI

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

One of the more offbeat and memorable figures in new wave, Lene Lovich certainly drew much of her widely varied approach from her unconventional early experiences. Born of a Yugoslavian father and British mother, she spent much of her childhood in Detroit, MI. At age 13, she moved to Hull, England, with her mother. She ran away to London shortly thereafter, where she worked several odd jobs ranging from bingo caller to go-go dancer to street busker. Around this time, she developed an interest in...
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