Review Summary: Lisa Loeb's first album in nearly a decade still plays like it's 1994.
Do you recognize the name Lisa Loeb? Don’t worry; you can be forgiven if you don’t have any idea who she is. For all intents and purposes, she was basically a one-hit wonder back in the nineties for her song ‘Stay (I Missed You)’ – you may recognize it as the end-credits song from Reality Bites
. That’s not to say that she hasn’t been busy since her early success in 1994 – she has a few gold albums and a consistently solid body of musical work, in addition to TV spots, voice acting and a few children’s albums – it’s just that she isn’t widely known outside of her small, but dedicated fan base. It has also been nearly a decade since the last time she released an album… I’m just saying that it's okay if you don’t recognize the name. Will Lisa’s first work in nearly ten years make you regret the oversight and rush out to buy her back-catalog? No, probably not. Is it good? Yeah, it’s good.
Lisa Loeb’s big hit was basically an alt. pop song about a relationship. There were a lot of those back in the day due to the success of Sarah McLachlan on one end of the spectrum and Alanis Morissette on the other. Loeb was able to set herself apart, though, due to the song’s placement on a movie and the subsequent video being pushed by Mtv. The track was guided by her sweet voice and hot librarian looks, and featured a chorus that was going to stick in your head whether you liked it or not. Why is this extended history lesson relevant? It’s important because nothing has really changed. No Fairy Tale
is Lisa doing what she does best; well done alt. pop guided by her sweet voice and carried by infectious choruses combined with an easily digestible musical backing. On the track ‘The 90s’ Lisa Loeb will tell you that she doesn’t miss the nineties and isn’t trying to rehash it, but I think she’s fooling herself. There are still plenty of people that are into slow-to-moderately paced alt. pop and she does it well enough to please most of them, so what’s the problem?
There’s not a lot to really discuss when it comes to No Fairy Tale
. The album definitely lacks an identity or even any defining characteristics, but that has always been the case. Lisa’s music is good and there’s no doubt that she had to put in some work to get where she is, but she has definitely benefited from being in the right place at the right time as well. I even went back and re-listened to her 1994 debut before coming back to this one, and the songs are virtually interchangeable. In the end, though, who cares? No Fairy Tale
is a good album that is a worthy addition to Lisa Loeb’s discography, and it will definitely satisfy anybody into her brand of catchy alternative-based pop.