Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Runaways - Queens of Noise

This sophomore effort by the Runaways came out of the gate as heavier and harder rockin' than its predecessor and, as an indication of things to come, the title, opening song has lead vocals by Joan, not Cherie. Power play, possibly? In any case, this is another solid rocker with even a bit of growth since the debut.

Lita seems to be taking more of a role here, as well, with her leads really standing out (the opening of "Take It of Leave It", for instance, and, of course, her showcase, "Johnny Guitar"). Joan continues to handle the leads vocals in "Take It Or Leave It" before Cherie finally gets her chance in the ballad-esque "Midnight Music". Joan returns for the quiet/loud, somewhat silly (dig the dramatic monologue!)  "Born to be Bad" while Cherie shows off her range in a stand-out from the record "Neon Angels on the Road to Ruin". Another great one is Joan's "I Love Playing With Fire", with its heavy chords'n'cowbell, though "California Paradise" reverts to corniness that also rears its head in "Hollywood", though not as bad - maybe helped by Jett's raw vocals as opposed to Currie's on the previous one? "Heartbeat" doesn't quite gel, despite some cool guitar tones from Ford, who gets to let loose in "Johnny Guitar", an "I'm a Man" rip-off that also allows Cherie to give some of her best vocals on the album. Though Lita was somewhat limited in her scope at this time, it's still a cool, bombastic blaster with some nice touches from her as well as Sandy, who is powering the drums here.

I might sound like I'm being overly critical, but I do really dig this record - and loved it when it came out. These ladies had to grow into their true potential, but these initial albums are quite fun and rockin' and deserve to be in anyone's collection!