I was never really a Lee Aaron fan. I’m old enough to remember when her most famous album Metal Queen (1984) came out, but to be honest, what hit me the most was the pictures of a very light dressed Aaron, her clothes revealed more than they hid. I never bought that record, a friend of mine had the record and taped it for me and not that I thought it was bad, I didn’t and still don’t, it was just that it wasn’t good enough to spend money on – for a 16-year-old kid, you need to spend your record money carefully and wisely, see. After that, I more or less forgot about Lee Aaron for a couple of years until we wrote 1987 and I had turned AOR big time. A friend handed me his copy of Lee’s then new self-titled album and that one got me hooked like crazy – I did buy that one, but for some reason I never cared enough to follow Aaron’s career after that. Lee Aaron was born Karen Greening back in 1962 which makes her a very young-looking 54 year old – she looks at least 10 years younger than that. At least! The name Lee Aaron was the name of the band in the beginning but it soon became synonymous with the singer pretty fast. The debut album, The Lee Aaron Project, came out in 1982 and was a big enough success for the singer and her band to get signed by Attic Records. After the success of Metal Queen, Lee Aaron kept on releasing records throughout the 80’s and half of the 90’s – eight albums all in all as a rock singer (although she dropped the Lee Aaron moniker for the 2preciious (1996) which failed completely) – but the big break was a no-show. In 1997 she decided to quit rock and got into jazz instead, something she kept doing until she resurrected the metal queen for a gig at Sweden Rock Festival in 2011, a gig that turned into a DVD release in 2012, Live In Sweden. Reading on certain forums, the Lee Aaron rock comeback seems to be the biggest thing that have happened in rock – ever, so there are some hardcore fans out there for sure so I guess this album is a very long-waited one after her long stroll down Jazz Street.
The first single and video – for this album’s opener “Tom Boy” – didn’t bode that well, though. To me, this sounds like something that Avril Lavigne could have put out in her earlier years, teenage skate pop rock, kind of. This type of music isn’t my kind of stuff and I just don’t think it fits Lee Aaron that well either. Next single and video, for the title track that follows, is better. It’s a catchy little rocker with a nice chunk of pop, but it’s not memorable enough for me. “Wanna Be” goes in the same vein as “Tom Boy”, teeny pop rock with a skater punk (punk as in Blink 182, not the Sex Pistols). See, this would have worked if Aaron was seventeen, but she’s not. Lyrically, it’s pretty ridiculous as well – “I wanna be your chocolate bar, the lemon that you squeeze…”. Oh, c’mon already. “Bittersweet” however, is much better. It’s a slow pop song with a great groove and a very catchy melody – very good, indeed. With “Popular” it sounds like she’s aiming for mainstream radio, the stuff that the pop kids listen to. It’s not bad, but it doesn’t stick and it doesn’t go anywhere. I love “50 Miles”, though. It’s a slow, dramatic, atmospheric and bluesy half-ballad and Aaron’s raspy voice fits it like a glove. Then it’s blushing time again. “Bad Boyfriend” is a silly little pop song with silly lyrics that may work for listeners of mainstream radio – I have a hard time believing anyone over twelve getting aroused by this. But again, things get better – “Heart Fix” goes in a more AOR / melodic rock vibe that brings both Heart and Robin Beck to mind. Aaron might have been a metal queen once, a lady of the darkest night, but this is the type of song that will help her keeping her head above water. “Nothing Says Everything” is a ballad, again in the AOR vein and I’m getting a hit feel from this melancholic pearl – this type of music really suits her well. “If You Don’t Love Me Anymore” could have been a MTV hit back in 1989 and since I’m a sucker for those kind of songs, I love this. It reminds me of Robin Beck and Fiona’s better days. Lee Aaron and her band says goodbye with “Find The Love”, a mellow and more serious ballad, but with a melody that is quite intoxicating. Way to go.
To sum it up, the four last songs really saves this album’s ass, even though there are a couple of more pretty good songs on it. The problem with this album is that it feels like Lee Aaron wants to be everybody’s baby, to please everyone and that is, of course, impossible. The album feels somewhat schizophrenic and goes almost everywhere musically. I don’t want to insult anyone with the teeny-bop references, that kind of music has its place as well, but I can’t shake the feeling that that kind of music feels more authentic when made by musicians more in the same age as the audience and Lee’s not – the Avril Lavigne fans won’t identify with a 50 + woman, I’m afraid. I read somewhere that “Tom Boy” was originally written for Lee’s daughter, who is also in the video and that’s the way it should have stayed, it’s way more suited. It’s when Lee gets hold of the more melodic rock and AOR smelling tunes that she comes alive and where he voice really comes across as great as it actually is and with more of those, this could have been a really great album. But the way it turned out, it’s not – it’s half great and half embarrassing and to give this a fair rating is pretty hard. I will give this a five, but the five is thin – very thin. But the good songs tells me that Lee Aaron just might have one of those killer albums in her – let’s hope that her next record is that album.
1. Tom Boy
2. Fire And Gasoline
3. Wanna Be
6. 50 Miles
7. Bad Boyfriend
8. Heart Fix
9. Nothing Says Everything
10. If You Don’t Love Me Anymore
11. Find The Love