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 Lisa Marie Presley: Elvis' only child is a powerful songwriter, but struggles onstage (review)

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PostSubject: Lisa Marie Presley: Elvis' only child is a powerful songwriter, but struggles onstage (review)   Sun Nov 11, 2012 5:20 am

In a lot of ways, it's easy to feel sorry for Lisa Marie Presley. Elvis' only child truly is the poor little rich girl. Her father's place as a musical icon is rivaled only by that of Michael Jackson, who just happens to be one of her former husbands.
Talk about doomed.
A lot of us feel pressured to "go into the family business,'' and really, with her lineage, she had no choice. But wisely, Presley, now 44, waited till she was 35 to do so. Even so, the comparisons were inevitable.
What those comparisons would show is an artist who is almost the polar opposite of her famous father. Though she bears a striking resemblance to Elvis, complete with the smoky, almost hooded eyes of his Sun Records-era publicity photos, she is nothing like him either onstage, vocally or in musical style, a fact that was perfectly obvious Wednesday night at her Kent Stage show.
Whereas Elvis was all about gyrations and sex that just happened to be wrapped up in song, Lisa Marie is a songwriter focused on lyric. She moves onstage, but there are no karate chops or kicks, no hip swivels; it's more like a pacing dad-to-be in a 1950s waiting room.
And really, that may be pretty accurate. Already mom to four kids, and now Presley is giving birth to a different kind of child: a career as a true artist. But it's not an easy delivery.
Presley's voice is nowhere near as powerful as her father's, nor does she have anything close to his range. Elvis could go from baritone to tenor and sink to bass all in the same tune and remain perfectly on pitch. Lisa Marie's smoky, sultry voice is limited to maybe a three- or four-note range, and she has a tendency to go flat.
Those are things that can be "fixed'' in the studio; in a live setting, it's killer, especially when the song style is a bluesy music that tends to lean towards melancholy ballads that could depress Lou Reed.
For almost 90 minutes, Presley and her band – led by current husband Michael Lockwood on guitar -- slid through her catalog of deeply personal songs like "So Long,'' "Over Me,'' "Soften the Blows'' [which would have been helped immensely by autotunes] and the effects-heavy "Weary.''
There is a playful side to her – an homage to failed love "Idiot,'' which she joked was "the meanest song I've ever written,'' has some great lines: "I guess I'm about as happy for you / As I would be a cockroach in my food. / I know it's terrible, I really hate you though.''
But it's hard to get past the miscues, like two botched starts on "Forgiving,'' another song with great introspective lyrics about a person trying desperately to learn to let go of past hurts.
To her credit, Presley does not try to recreate her father. She is an entity into and of herself. She doesn't cover his songs – she didn't even do her latest, a "duet'' of "I Love You Because'' with him, probably because of the vocal challenges. But the late start, and correct decision to go her own way is making for a painful voyage.
Even for a poor little rich girl.

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