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Living Like A Runaway

Steamhammer (2012)
Rating: 9/10

After a massive false start with Wicked Wonderland (2009), Lita Ford finds herself freshly divorced, pissed off and ready to prove that she still has her chops with Living Like A Runaway. And that she does. In spades as a matter of fact.

The album kicks off with the duo of ‘Branded’ and ‘Hate’, both melodic hard rockers that have a lot in common with the darker sound Lita went for on Black (1995). Despite the same sound though, these songs are far superior to anything on Black. The title track is a reflective modern sounding rocker that has that “I’m so glad I made it through all this shit” appeal. It’s brightly produced, catchy and just makes you feel good. ‘Relentless’ and ‘Devil In My Head’ are both excellent straight ahead hard rockers that remind you that you are listening to LITA DAMN FORD!

‘Mother’ is the lone gentle moment here, bringing out the acoustic guitar and turning introspective for a few minutes. It’s a beautiful song that breaks the album up a bit and would have made for a perfect big ending to a Side A cassette. ‘Asylum’ is another ballad, but it’s the big solo-tinged type that makes you simultaneously raise your lighter and your horns.

This album is so close to perfect that its ending becomes an even bigger letdown than it would have been with lesser songs. The nearly perfect guitar work of ‘Asylum’ and the fun summertime duet ‘Love 2 Hate U’ complement each other well and you are left feeling good that Lita is back on her feet. Then comes ‘A Song To Slit Your Wrists By’, a terrible Wicked Wonderland cast-off sounding song penned by Nikki Sixx (Mötley Crüe bassist). It’s a garbage ending and I suggest you completely ignore it.

Aside from the very last song this may be Lita’s most rocking album to date. It’s got the aggression of Black and the big choruses that made her a household name with her 1988 self-titled album. It sounds modern and classic all at once without stepping into cheesy or unbelievable. Lita is back with a vengeance and the presence of Jim Gillette (Lita’s ex-husband and former Nitro vocalist) in her career is obviously gone! No more pissy faux industrial music, stupid lyrics, or BDSM artwork, Living Like A Runaway is pure Lita rock ’n’ roll, classy and balls out.

Mark Fisher