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Living Like a Runaway

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Album Review

Following a long hiatus beginning in the mid-'90s, the onetime undisputed queen of pop metal, Lita Ford, returned to the world of performance with 2009's Wicked Wonderland. The record was a far cry from the radio-ready hard rock she made her name on in the hair metal days, leaning more toward industrial heaviness, electronic instruments, and S&M imagery than any of her material that came beforehand, solo or otherwise. The record met a generally frustrated reception and poor sales, and with this, her eighth solo album, Living Like a Runaway, Ford strips away some of the conceptual and electronic mayhem that made the last album so confusing, returning to a more straightforward rock approach. Aided by co-producer/songwriter Gary Hoey, Lita offers up ten tracks of punk-fused metal more in line with her back catalog, including the kind of pop hooks and sinister breakdowns that kept her older records from stepping over the line into inaccessibly thrashy heaviness. In the time between Wicked Wonderland and Living Like a Runaway, Ford went through a particularly ugly divorce with her longtime husband, former Nitro singer Jim Gillette, and the strongest material here cries out in catharsis with angry feelings stemming from the divorce. Unrelenting songs like "Branded," "Asylum," and "The Mask" all speak pretty directly to failed romance and betrayal and "Mother" is a heartbreaking ode to her two estranged sons, turned against her by their father following the divorce. A fair amount of the songs swim in similarly dark waters, with subject matter ranging from mass murder ("Hate") to possession ("Devil in My Head"), before throwing in a relatively light contemporary hard rock number with the road-weary title track. The album is spotty, to be sure. Hokey filler tracks like "Luv 2 Hate U" and a confusing cover of Nikki Sixx side project 58's "A Song to Slit Your Wrists By" don't make the already reaching album any stronger. Despite some missteps, the bitterness and spite of Ford's heavy metal breakup album get to the most visceral core of her sound. At times she sounds raw, exposed, spun out in pain, or even like she's rewriting earlier songs, but even the least successful moments sound genuine. Living Like a Runaway sounds like a record Lita Ford needed to create rather than a weak attempt at a comeback. While it likely won't be the album that skyrockets her back into the spotlight, fans will be relieved and thrilled to hear her return to form.

Customer Reviews

About Time

This is great. I have been a Lita fan since Out for Blood came out. This woman can rock with the best of them. I have been waiting a long time for Lita to come back to music and this is her come back album. I can't wait to see her again in concert. Can hardly wait for the next one.

Good Album

some real good material on here especially the track HATE keep up the good work Lita!!!!

Lita?

Anything is better than wicked wonderland but living like a runaways was missing her wicked guitar solos which this album lacked. What's a lita album without her famous solos? The album was ok.

Biography

Born: September 19, 1958 in London, England

Genre: Rock

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

One of two solo stars to spring from the ashes of the '70s all-girl hard rock band the Runaways, Lita Ford has long been a more frustrating, contradictory proposition for critics than former colleague Joan Jett. Ford is subtly feminist in her musical approach, displaying guitar heroics on the level of any male metal hero; the mere fact of her existence in the otherwise testosterone-driven heavy metal genre has made her a hero to some, but her persona has often been criticized as calculated to appeal...
Full Bio
Living Like a Runaway, Lita Ford
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