LIVING LIKE A RUNAWAY
There's several thoughts that I have about Lita Ford, but two really jumped out at me making me think that LIVING LIKE A RUNAWAY would be a turd. First and foremost, her last album WICKED WONDERLAND is, arguably, one of the single worst albums I've ever heard from an artist that's had success in the past. Seriously, in her genre, WICKED WONDERLAND sits on the same mantle as such great albums as Dokken's SHADOWLIFE, Lynch Mob's SMOKE THIS, Scorpions' EYE II EYE and Gene Simmons' ASSHOLE...the mantle of shame, that is. Secondly, Lita's never exactly been known for recording great albums in the first place. She's OK and she's had her share of hits over the years. To my ear though, Lita was never even in the same ballpark as Doro and was only slightly better than Vixen back in the day. Needless to say, none of that bodes well for expectations for LIVING LIKE A RUNAWAY.
Of course, expectations really don't mean a whole lot. To say the least, Lita Ford has proven my expectations dead wrong with her latest release. LIVING LIKE A RUNAWAY is fueled with the hatred and pain she's gone through over the last two years as she worked through a bitter divorce. Her pain equals our listening pleasure here. LIVING LIKE A RUNAWAY is, without question, the best album of Ms. Ford's long career.
Getting the easy stuff out of the way, Lita sounds great. Her voice is as strong as it's ever been, and her guitar playing is solid like it always was. That really doesn't matter a whole lot though. The strength of LIVING LIKE A RUNAWAY is the passion in her pain. To put it bluntly, ex-husband Jim Gillette fucked Lita's head up big time in their divorce, and she's exorcising those demons throughout LIVING LIKE A RUNAWAY. The not so subtle references are everywhere here. Songs like "Branded" are a not so discrete description of an overbearing, controlling husband that she just needed to get away from before her entire life was slaughtered like a piece of cattle by a bolt gun. By contrast, songs like "Mother" are literally painful cries that paint a picture that she might have not gotten the custody she wanted in her divorce settlement. This song is especially moving, and might just be the most real vocal performance of Ford's career.
It's not all doom and gloom over her failed marriage though. The title track, "Living Like A Runaway", seems to be more of a look back at the circumstances that lead her to becoming a rock star as well as taking time to thank the fans for keeping her going. It's another solid track. "Hate" is definitely a vicious song, but doesn't deal with her divorce either. This song outlines the growth and eventual actions of a lifelong friend turned serial killer. It's clear that Ford had a lot to get off her chest with this album, and she's done so in masterful fashion.
PITRIFF RATING - 88/100 - LIVING LIKE A RUNAWAY is probably the most surprising release of the year to this point. With zero expectations for it, this is a seriously great release. She loses points for reverting back to the industrial crap on the Nikki Sixx penned "A Song To Slit Your Wrists By" and a few more for pretty lame cover art, but other than that, Lita Ford has created a truly wicked album full of more piss and vinegar than she's ever shown before. Good stuff.