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Ratings and Reviews

4.5 out of 5

14 Ratings

14 Ratings

Jane Austen For the Downtown Set

stevie8

Before there was a "Carrie Bradshaw" - and certainly before the East Village was gentrified, there was Cristina: the ultimate "Cosmo girl!" Catchy tunes combined with razor-sharp lyrics and brilliant insights into the the socio-sexual games we all play - what else would you expect from a Harvard girl? Also included are bonus tracks including "Things Fall Apart" - one of the most bombastically blase Christmas songs you'll ever hear. I've waited 23 years for this - and it was more than worth it!

One of my All-Time favorite albums

petertvkill

And that's saying something, competing with about 2,000 others. This is from 1984, the 2004 date is the re-release. But why this re-release mixes up the LP's track order is beyond me...I suppose I can rearrange them the way they should be. Get this album, and get "Is That All There Is?" off Doll Box. You won't be sorry.

Fierce

ericamj

"What's a Girl to do" is an amazing timeless crazy track!!!! Please listen!!!!!

About Cristina

Combining Bertolt Brecht, Leiber & Stoller, punk, and disco into a distinctive brew that parodied and questioned '80s excess, Cristina's acerbic wit made her a revered cult figure even though she only released two albums. Born to an American writer and illustrator and a French neo-Freudian psychoanalyst, Cristina Monet Palaci had a culturally literate childhood that led to studies at Harvard and a stint as a theater writer for The Village Voice. While writing for the alt-weekly in 1978, she met and began dating Michael Zilkha, co-founder of the eclectic record label ZE with Michel Esteban and an Oxford graduate whose family owned the British retailer Mothercare.

Cristina began her musical career that summer with one of the label's first projects, "Disco Clone," a single written by one of her Harvard classmates. Intended to capitalize on the disco craze, the John Cale-produced track marked her inaugural collaboration with songwriter/arranger August Darnell (aka Kid Creole). It became a cult hit that led to several more singles, including a reworked "Disco Clone" featuring an uncredited Kevin Kline, a synth pop cover of the Beatles' "Drive My Car," and a version of Leiber & Stoller's world-weary "Is That All There Is?" with new lyrics by Cristina that were so provocative that the songwriting duo was granted an injunction against further sales of it in 1980. That year also saw the release of Cristina's self-titled debut album, which was produced by Darnell and mixed Latin beats and cinematic imagery with disco.

She followed it with "Things Fall Apart," an eerie holiday single that appeared on ZE's 1981 Christmas Record. For her second album, 1984's Sleep It Off, Cristina worked with producer Don Was in his Detroit studio. Joined by the Knack's Doug Frieder and Barry Reynolds and Ben Brierley of Marianne Faithfull's band, she put her own playfully jaded spin on John Conlee's "She Can't Say That Anymore," Van Morrison's "Blue Money," and The Threepenny Opera's "Ballad of Immoral Earnings" as well as original tunes such as "He Dines Out on Death" and "What's a Girl to Do?," which she later described as her anthem. Sleep It Off earned critical acclaim but not sales, and Cristina retired from music.

After starting a family with Zilkha and moving to Texas, Cristina divorced him and moved back to New York to focus on writing essays and reviews. She came out of retirement briefly in 2004 to contribute vocals to "Urgent Anxious," a collaboration with Ursula 1000 that was released in 2006. Also in 2004, Sleep It Off and her first album -- rechristened Doll in a Box -- were reissued by ZE with bonus tracks. ~ Heather Phares

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