"some music was meant to stay underground..."

Lita Ford - "Wicked Wonderland" (CD)

Lita Ford - "Wicked Wonderland" CD cover image

"Wicked Wonderland" track listing:

1. Crave (3:46)
2. Piece (Hell Yeah) (3:42)
3. Patriotic SOB (4:33)
4. Scream 4 Me (3:58)
5. Inside (4:13)
6. Wicked Wonderland (3:50)
7. Indulge (4:43)
8. Love (5:31)
9. Betrayal (3:58)
10. Sacred (4:34)
11. Truth (3:56)
12. Everything (3:36)
13. Bed (6:51)
14. Garden (4:06)
15. Push (4:17)

Reviewed by on October 20, 2009

"…with her first release in fifteen years, 'Wicked Wonderland,' Lita has created an album that drips with lust, sadomasochism, and overt sexuality."

When I was a kid growing up, most female vocalists were singing about romance, passion, and unrequited love, but not Lita Ford. The bold blonde in leather opened the doors for women to talk candidly about sex, with her famous lyrics, "I went to a party last Saturday night, I didn’t get laid, I got in a fight." Well, that may have been bold by 1980’s standards, but with her first release in fifteen years, "Wicked Wonderland," Lita has created an album that drips with lust, sadomasochism, and overt sexuality.

The album cover pretty much tells the story of what this thematic release is about - from the handcuffs that intertwine with her name, to the balloons labeled love, hate, pain, and pleasure floating in the distance, and even a gas mask wearing dog. Not since Lords of Acid have I seen something this erotic and in your face. But is the music any good? The answer is unequivocally absolutely.

The opener, "Crave," sets the stage with gritty, grinding guitar work and a pulsing tempo that makes quite plain what the song is about. Throughout the release, Lita’s main vocals are offset by backup male guests, and the near growls on "Crave," along with lyrics like "You wanna love me black and blue" make this a tune that will have every person in the BDSM community adding it to their favorite playlist.

As is her trademark, Lita masterfully alternates between sighing sex kitten and screaming metal maiden. Again, the use of deep male vocals offset by Lita’s almost breathy ones on "Inside" make for a track that is sexually charged to say the least, even though the lyrics actually hint at love. Speaking of love, perhaps the best tune, "Love," provides an ironic look at toxic relationships held together only by the pleasure factor. What makes this one so good is that it doesn’t strictly rely on the same throbbing tempo as the rest of the album, but actually slows down to a tantalizingly slow tempo, before ending on a full scale hard rock jam.

I could go on and on about the rest of the tracks, but truthfully they all share a similar theme and sound, though I wouldn’t call them formulaic. Some, like "Truth," are more in the tough chick girl power vein, while others, like "Bed" and "Indulge" will have everyone wondering if the tough as nails Ms. Ford really isn't so tough in the bedroom.

However, even if sadomasochism and blatant sexuality aren’t your thing, "Patriotic SOB" is a quirky, quality rock anthem that makes some bold statements about American culture. Opening with a group of school children reciting the pledge, you may think this track is going to be one of those American pride tunes. Well, despite the guitar that shreds its way through a snippet of "The Star Spangled Banner," this song doesn’t necessarily celebrate the freedoms most of us Americans typically think of when we shoot fireworks on July 4.

"Patriotic SOB" makes some brutally honest observations about Americans’ sex-obsessed culture, and our freedom to indulge in things like wet t-shirt contests to satisfy that obsession. Sure, this tune instrumentally is a bit cheesy, but it does make some good points in the lyrics.

Lita may have taken a lengthy hiatus from music, but she is making up for it in spades with "Wicked Wonderland." If you liked her saucy, bold attitude in the 80’s, run out and grab yourself a copy of this new installment, because with as hot as it is, it won’t stay on the shelves for long.

Highs: All the songs are great in that the lyrics and tempo combine to create a hypnotic, erotic journey.

Lows: A few outdated synth sounds on the title track and "Everything."

Bottom line: Metal’s favorite bad girl is at it again with a tantalizing album that is so hot it should be rated NC-17.

Rated 4.0 out of 5 skulls
4.0 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)