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Grammy nominated musician Lisa Loeb is back with her seventh album titled No Fairy Tale, which was released on January 29 on 429 Records. It’s described as a “poppy-punky-rock album” by its co-producer New Found Glory guitarist Chad Gilbert. Loeb burst onto the mainstream music scene back in 1994 with her platinum-selling No. 1 hit “Stay (I Missed You)” from the movie Reality Bites. On No Fairy Tale, Loeb’s token sound melds with Gilbert’s punk outlook. Loeb also collaborated with the Canadian female duo Tegan and Sara Quin along with other artists such as Hello Goodbye, Morgan Taylor, Maia Sharp and Marvin Etzioni. The album is filled to the brim with intensely personal songs that Loeb wrote over a number of years. These songs are filled with emotion yet still inject a fun, entertaining vibe.
No Fairy Tale’s opening track is the title track. With Loeb on lead vocals as well as electric and acoustic guitar, Gilbert on guitar and bass and Colin Strahm on drums, this lively tune is the perfect song to begin the album. Loeb’s upbeat voice accompanies the energetic guitar and drumming as she sings lines like, “Once upon a time leads to a hapless ever after when the tears are real, so is the laughter.” Songs with fabled themes seem to be the norm as listeners might recall Taylor Swift’s hit “Today Was a Fairytale,” which seems to be the anti-thesis of this song. But, despite its somewhat downtrodden refrain, Loeb and company make it incredibly danceable and a song almost anyone can identify with. “Weak Day,” opens with slower guitar work from Loeb and Gilbert along with Paul Miner on bass and Jarrod Alexander on drums in the background. In addition, Brad Wood’s artful piano playing and Chick Wolverton on the shakers gives this song a slightly classical yet frenzied feel to go along with lyrics like, “Got a house on my back, pushing me over, making me weak on my feet. And a head on my shoulders makes me uneasy, making me dizzy for weeks. You got me on a weak day, you got me on a bad time to talk. A screw loose and rolling into a pile in the corner. I thought I should warn you.” Listeners are guaranteed to sympathize with Loeb and think back to the last time they had a similar day where they didn’t want to see or talk to anyone, friend or foe. “The '90s” is your classic nostalgia song. As Loeb sings about getting ready to shoot her first video on MTV with lines like, “Those were the '90s. Time flies so fast. You say you loved me then but I don’t want to go back. We let our hair grow long, got biker boots and wrote tough songs.” Though Loeb seems to be singing about not remembering the decade when alternative music was all the rage and Loeb was telling us to “Stay,” listeners will probably think back to that time regardless. “One Hot Minute,” which was written by the Quin duo, starts off with an electronica vibe in the brisk guitar opening. Lisa and Tegan harmonize together beautifully as Gilbert’s guitar and bass pound away and Strahm’s drums can be heard in the background. The girls’ vocals are speedy as they muse about a VERY short relationship/encounter with lines such as, “I was in the window barely dressed, amazed myself had to decide, leave the left one and some scruff along the fence. I screamed through the glass, can you believe this but no one was there to hear me gasp…It’s a hot minute that lasts a lifetime, I’m not asking for forever, I’m just asking for tonight.” What listener won’t relate to this heartbreaking situation? On “Swept Away,” Loeb seems to be serenading about being “swept away” or forgotten about by the music industry. Loeb’s guitar play together with Gilbert’s strumming, Miner’s bass in the background, Alexander’s masterful drumming, Wood this time on the organ and Wolverton playing the tambourine gives this song a sad bend as Loeb goes on with lines like, “So there you are feeling like a fallen star, can’t read the headlines now, they’re faded. Tied to your phone, rock under paper, like a sitting stone, you’ve never seemed so sad and jaded…No luck so far, who knew it could be so hard, waiting for the lights to change. You want to know if it’s green, if it’s gonna go, you’re looking for someone to blame.” And on “Ami, I’m Sorry,” which was written by Loeb and Etzioni, Loeb seems to be apologizing to a friend for past wrongdoings. Loeb’s skillful guitar work is complemented by Gilbert’s guitar and bass work as Wood plays the organ again in addition to the shakers. This song is a wonderful request for clemency in musical form as Loeb sorrowfully croons lyrics like, “Ami, I’m sorry for calling, but I feel like I want to come home. I’m sorry, I tried…you always thought I’d make it alone, but now all I’ve done is to prove you wrong. Ami, I’m sorry. I want to come home…don’t hang up the phone, I know that it’s too late to call…Ami, I’m sorry I promised so much... Ami, I’m sorry I’m making you sad…Ami, I’m sorry I am calling.” This song will definitely resonate with anyone who has ever been remorseful about hurting a friend and wishes to be forgiven.
In conclusion, No Fairy Tale from Lisa Loeb is an album with personal tracks that listeners will connect with and be able to dance to as well. In addition, the album has songs that will make listeners enjoy Loeb’s harmonious vocal and instrumental talents.