It has been fourteen years since Lita Ford’s last album, Black. In her long absence away from the metal scene Lita has been lost in the Caribbean with her husband Jim Gillette (Nitro), and has been focused on her family, not music. Unfortunately, Wicked Wonderland shows just that. On this new album, Lita Ford has reinvented her sound, and I am not sure which set of music fans she is trying to appeal to. Her old fans will be left scratching their head, and I am not sure how many new fans this music will appeal to.
I have no problem with an artist updating their sound, or trying to stay current. Even though hair metal had made a minor comeback over the last few years, I didn’t expect Lita to put out a disc that sound like her 80’s material. If you go back and listen to her album Black from 1995, you will see a change in her sound. That disc showed a somewhat different direction from Lita’s roots, but it still worked. After a few spins of Wicked Wonderland, I wish she had gone back to the sound that helped make her famous. Some of the songs on Wicked Wonderland work well enough, but most of them are a maybe a little too grungy for their own good. Lita Ford’s husband, Jim Gillette, who was once known for his glass breaking screams in the band Nitro, shares the vocal duties on this CD. The odd thing is, he sings in a gruff, sometimes menacing voice that is completely unlike anything Nitro fans have heard either. Overall, it makes for a strange combination. It almost sounds as if Lita listened to a heavy dose of Rob Zombie in her hiatus.
The opening cut “Crave” is kind of cool. I will admit that this song has grown on me somewhat, even through it has an almost industrial like feel.
“Piece” on the other hand makes me shudder. It oozes sex, but not in a good way. This song has a grungy rap like feel, and for my ears, it just doesn’t work.
“Patriotic SOB” starts off with Lita’s sons pledging the allegiance to the flag. It then blasts off into a grunge filled rocker. This song isn’t great, but isn’t terrible either. It does have some catchy moments.
On the song “Inside” Lita shares the vocals with her husband Jim. This song has a sexual yet eerie vibe. I could actually see this song getting used in a Vampire flick of some sort.
I could almost hear the title track Wicked Wonderland getting some play in the dance/strip clubs. It has a pretty cool groove that is undeniably catchy.
The production on Wicked Wonderland is top notch, but the production can not help the weak songs, and there are far too many of them. I kept trying to find another song or two that might change my mind about this disc, but I could not find one. Overall, I found Wicked Wonderland to be a major disappointment. I still love Lita Ford, and I will definitely catch her on her tour with Queensryche. I just hope she plays more of her classic material.
Rating: Out 0f 10
3. Patriotic SOB
6. Wicked Wonderland
LITA FORD GETS NAUGHTY ON WICKED WONDERLAND, TITILLATING ALBUM ART REFLECTED ON MYSPACE PAGE AND VINYL/PICTURE DISC VERSIONS
Remember the good old days, when you’d rush home from buying vinyl at your nearest record shop, put the platter on your turntable, and study the album cover and its contents as you listened? With those days seemingly gone with the “download revolution” in full swing, Lita is willing to offer fans a good sense of deja vu with her upcoming release on October 6th, Wicked Wonderland. In addition to being released as a CD and a download, it will also be issued as a vinyl record and an eye-popping picture disc. Pre-orders for both the CD and the vinyl version are available via Lita’s official site [www.litaxx.tv] and Myspace page [www.myspace.com/litaford]. “We told [album designers] Piggy D and Carin the lyrics to the songs – they’re very sexual,” says Lita. “We told them we didn’t want it to be our idea of a Wicked Wonderland. We wanted people to be able to hear the music, look at the art, and come up with their own Wicked Wonderland. Because my idea is probably a lot different than yours, which is probably a lot different than the neighbors! We all have different fantasies. What we love to do isn’t going to be for everybody, so we wanted the art to be very sexual yet vague enough to let you come up with your own thing – to help spur you into your own Wicked Wonderland.” Lita’s husband, Jim Gillette – who also co-produced Wicked Wonderland with Lita and Greg Hampton – agrees. “There’s a piece of art for every song. I haven’t seen any packaging like this in 20 years. Everybody’s doing the download thing – it’s like, go ahead, but you’re going to miss out on a huge part of the experience.
One night, we had a bottle of champagne and we sat there for three hours – we have a huge Apple screen in our studio, and we blew the picture up and started finding all this crazy stuff. Piggy said there are two cockroaches on the album cover…we only found one – we did find the other! There’s stuff all over. Lita says it’s almost like an ‘I Spy’ thing – the more you look, the more you see.” The vinyl version of Wicked Wonderland will be issued as a limited run, and the picture disc will be even a smaller limited run, so act fast. And tying in with the album cover design is a new design for Lita’s Myspace page. “Piggy D and Carin Cronacher put it together using the same artwork that they created for the album,” explains Lita. “Our myspace page is different from other bands, because we have pictures of the whole family. There’s a video of our kid boxing, there’s family photos – photos from the house, everyday life, vacations. It’s cool – we’ve gotten a lot of comments on that and a lot of emails through Myspace from people thanking us for being so open with our family life, and sharing more private stuff – rather than only studio-type shots.” And lastly, Jim encourages fans to get in touch with Lita through her myspace page, and either Lita or Jim will try and respond.