The Narc’s 50 Fave Records Of The Aughts.

November 30, 2009 at 6:34 am (Uncategorized)

50. The Bangles, Doll Revolution (2003)


Chances are that if you mention The Bangles to 99% of the music listeners on the planet, they’ll roll their eyes, thinking of overplayed novelties like “Walk Like An Egyptian”, or overproduced pap like “Manic Monday” or (shudder) “Eternal Flame”….and that’s a shame. Songs like that describe what The Bangles were about almost as well as “Silly Love Songs” describes what Paul McCartney was all about.

The Bangles were a psych-pop band who knew their way around the Nuggets comp (the original, Lenny Kaye version, natch) better than almost any of their more vaunted peers in the Paisley Underground. Playing live, they’d tear the joint down on sizzling covers of “Little Red Book” or “7 & 7 Is”. In fact, one of the greatest attributes these four ladies ever had was knowing their own limitations as songwriters and cherry-picking tunes from folks like Prince and The Soft Boys’ Kimberley Rew.

Scariano and I went to see The Bangles on their first, House Of Blues reunion tour in 2000, and it was one of the best live shows I’ve ever seen. The band was great, and the biggest surprise was the strength of the new material they were debuting. Doll Revolution came out three years later, the band amazingly finally recapturing their natural energy and raison d’etre in the studio for the first time in over 20 years. Fittingly, the rollicking opener (“Tear Off Your Own Head”) is an Elvis Costello tune, but elsewhere Vicki Peterson lays down the law on a self-penned scorching rocker like “Between The Two” and the declaration of girl-independence “Single By Choice”. The band that scored a worldwide hit with their cover of “Hazy Shade Of Winter” manages to do themselves proud with their own version and nearly out-minor-keys Mr. Simon with “Stealing Rosemary”.

Doll Revolution remains the band’s studio swansong, and what seemed like an fascinating way for the band to expand upon a rebuilt legacy now plays second fiddle to Susie Hoffs’ “Between The Covers” projects. Even as a final one-off statement, the record gracefully redeems the legacy of The Bangles from the elevator music hell to which it had been consigned, and stands as one of the most joyous record spins of the last decade.

Songs to listen to: (Right click, “save as”)

“Tear Off Your Own Head (Doll Revolution)”
“Between The Two”

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