New Wave Band:
by New Wave Dave
Cross new wave sensibility with semi-Gothic campiness and you get another of my faves, the
fascinating (and underrated) song stylist Lene Lovich. Born in the USA, raised in England, she brought new global
consciousness to the possibilities of new wave artistry.
At age 13, Lili-Marlene Premilovich moved from Detroit to Hull, England. She later attended
art school in London. In her late 20s, after trying a variety of artistic endeavors, she finally devoted herself to
music. Her first single as a solo artist, in 1978, was "I Think We're Alone Now" — a cover of a Tommy James and the
Shondells hit. She co-wrote the B side, "Lucky Number," which climbed as high as #3 on the UK charts.
That same year, those early successes led to her first album,
Stateless, which contained both of those tracks and a host of other songs that showcased
her quirkily impassioned vocals. Most of the numbers are uptempo ("Home," "Telepathy," "One in a 1,000,000," etc.),
but she also has an idiosyncratic style on slower ballads such as "Too Tender to Touch." If you haven't heard this
album, be ready for a quickly unforgettable mix of catchy rhythms and Lene Lovich's unique voice.
Her next album, Flex, arrived the next year; though not as well
known now, it actually reached a higher position on the UK charts (#19). However, her next enduring single was the
title track of a 1981 six-song EP, New Toy.
Written by Thomas Dolby (famous for his smash hit "She Blinded Me With
Science"), this track provided an ideal setting for Lene's quavering New Wave singing. (The repeated lyric "I
want a new toy" preceded Huey Lewis's declaration "I Want a New Drug" by two years.)
Later albums failed to earn as much attention, and Lene took time off to raise a family. She
still records and [rarely] performs live, but her career has reached a point where it can be encapsulated by
greatest-hits collections. The latest is 2004's Lucky Number (don't let the cover picture
scare you off!).
Not one of the biggest New Wave names, Lene Lovich is still one of the most fascinating,
thanks to her unique style and catchy melodies. Check her out!