Ladyhawke is somewhat of a musical enigma. Music of her caliber and style would easily storm the charts and rule the radio in a fair and just world. This is not that world. Thankfully, those of us with discernment in our nature and our ear to the ground have been eagerly awaiting something just as this. Classy, humble, and sleek, Ladyhawke's self-titled debut album is one of 2008's sleeper hits.
About Ladyhawke - Mashup of Blondie and Pretenders
Philippa Brown, Ladyhawke's mild-mannered alter ego (also adorably known as Pip) began her life and career in New Zealand with the group Two Lane Blacktop. New Zealand, however, didn't seem to be big enough to contain Brown, who later moved to Australia. This move defined her career, as Nick Littlemore of Pnau found her and started the group Teenagers with her. Once again, however, this didn't suit her needs. Phillipa Brown felt the urge to express herself further than Teenagers allowed her to, so she began her musical life under the pseudonym Ladyhawke. She is quoted as saying, "I wanted to make music that could put a smile on peoples faces and give them a feeling of nostalgia even though they may be hearing my songs for the first time." Given the amount of musical comparisons to prominent musicians of the 80s, it seems she has met her goal. My personal assessment of Ladyhawke's style is a modern electro-pop merging of Blondie and the Pretenders.
Ladyhawke's Great Songs
Ladyhawke opens with "Magic," both a statement of what's to come and the most misleading track on the album in terms of artistic expression. Written by Pascal Gabriel (responsible for tracks by Debbie Harry, Miss Kittin, and Erasure), "Magic" is a mostly understated track with brilliant lyrics and a haunting harmony. Brown's breakout hit as Ladyhawke came in the form of "Paris Is Burning," a Nero-esque track lyrically with a nostalgic beat. "My heart is yearning while Paris is burning" starts the memorble chorus, eliciting really odd Paris Hilton/STD connotations while I bop along. Follow-up singles "Dusk Till Dawn" and "My Delerium" are both insanely catchy numbers. "Dusk Till Dawn" sounds like a (better) Ting Tings number while the real brilliance lives in the fast-paced Blondie-esque "My Delerium," both lyrically and musically. "Delerium" is just a fun track. "Hey! You're playing with my delerium!"
"Another Runaway" definitely hearkens back to the feel good rock-pop of the 80s, synths, beats, and uplifting melodies included. Very much a standout for Ladyhawke's debut, and a sound I'd love to hear more from her in the future. Granted, this album is chock full of these little gems, including the big hair stage number "Crazy World," the 80s dance number "Professional Suicide," and "Back of the Van" which almost sounds exactly like a Pretenders number. "Morning Dreams," the album's closer, sounds like a prom number for every 80s teen movie made.
There really isn't a bad track on the album. Ladyhawke's
vocals are familiar and comforting, her songs are bouncy and
infectious. "Another Runaway" would have to be my favorite, but
choosing a runner up would be difficult. A must for any hipster, for
sure. A weighty recommendation for everyone else. I'm not giving it
a 5 star rating simply because I refuse to believe this is the best
she has to offer.
Released October 2008 on Modular/Interscope