""Flex" is both brilliant musically and fun stylistically. Like her sister-in-arms Nina Hagen, Lovich is not brilliant in spite of her sense of humor but because of it. Moreover, the two share a philosophy in their lyrics that everything in life is deeply interconnected, hence the wonderful line from "You Can't Kill Me": "If I shoot you down as a mean old man/you come back as a baby in Japan." I remember listening to this album when it first came out and being awestruck by it then (1980), in the midst of all that new stuff that is now so standard: B-52's, Talking Heads, etc. etc. Somehow, I fell out of touch with it...but hearing "New Toy" recently got me to get this newer, more extended version of "Flex." It is -- in a word -- superb. In two words, it is superb and original. In three words--okay, you get the idea. This remastered version gives you all the joy and energy and brilliance of Lovich's masterwork (it is her personal peak and a prime achievement of the whole genre) and this album can stand up with any in terms of creativity, craft and style. "Classic" is a word that is used way too often and it has been way commercialized but "Flex" embodies the real meaning of "classic": a work of art that never grows old, not because it keeps getting played all the time, but because you get something new from it every time you listen. The beauty of "Flex" is that it is so creative that it is still contemporary (it doesn't sound dated and in terms of its freshness and energy reminds me of Alison Goldfrapp's "Felt Mountain," though a lot less dark and slow) and yet you have the fun recognition of the late '70's-early '80's New Wave genre at its best. Last but not least, Lovich and her collaborator Chappell give us consistency: every track on this CD is good and with the added tracks, it's a CD you'll listen to over and over again. Despite being two decades old, "Flex" is still as fresh and new as when it was first released. How many albums can you say that about?"
THE "MUST HAVE" LENE LOVICH
jimic6472879 | Thomaston, Georgia United States | 03/15/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"FOR ANYONE WHO IS A SERIOUS COLLECTOR OF MID-SEVENTIES TO MID EIGHTIES PUNK, THIS IS DEFINATELY A MUST HAVE! WHEN THIS RECORDING HIT THE MARKET, LENE HAD ALREADY MADE THE PUNK SCENE WITH HER FIRST RELEASE, "STATELESS" AND QUITE FRANKLY, A LOT OF MY FRIENDS THOUGHT THAT THE FIRST RECORDING WOULD BE THE LAST; YOU KNOW THE "FLASH IN THE PAN" THING LIKE SO MANY ARTISTS DID. BUT WHEN THIS RECORDING WAS RELEASED AND WORD GOT AROUND THE CLUBS AND THE CIRCUIT IN GENERAL, THERE WAS A RUSH TO THE MUSIC STORES AND BEFORE THREE MONTHS PASTED, EVERYONE THAT I KNEW WAS PLAYING IT ALMOST NON-STOP!! WITH THIS RECORDING, LENE DID A FUSING OF PUNK ROOTS WITH HIGH ELECTIC-TECHNO RHYTHMS AND THE RESULTS ARE A BLEND OF LENE'S UNIQUE VOCALS, TREMENDOUS MUSICIANSHIP AND SUPERB ARTISTRY IN THE STUDIO. TO THIS DAY, I AM ENTHRALLED BY THIS RECORDING AND EACH TIME I TAKE IT OFF THE SHELF, IT HAS THE ABILITY TO TAKE ME BACK TO THE DAYS OF MY REBELLIOUS YOUTH WITH ALL IT'S FREEDOM, CREATIVITY, SPONTANEITY AND WONDERFUL WILDNESS. AGAIN, THIS IS A MUST HAVE!!"
You must, you must want!
BasicRep | Charleston SC | 07/22/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Ok, let's see. I bought the US LP when it first came out [I cruised the record stores for months waiting for the follow-up to STATELESS], then the Japanese LP, because it was cool, then I got the German one with the seafoam green vinyl. Why? Because I could not bear to ever wear out this album! If you are looking at this album, you must have had some reason. Well, just buy it! When I saw that Rhino had released this on CD back in 1990, I just about fainted in the record store! I bought them and RAN home to play it and it's sister CD Flex...plus.
OK, enough melodrama. Now about the music. From the first few seconds of the album, when you realize that the 'bird' is really her voice, you are hooked. Her voice is one of those distinctive ones, not great but somehow good. The only way to describe her is the B52's, but with sultry vocals and more soulful. She manages to have a nu-wave album that isn't electronic. She is one of a kind, and this album is her best work of art.
FYI: The bonus tracks make up the 'New Toy' EP from 1981. The last 2 tracks are from her more pop-oriented LP 'No-Man's Land' which HAS see CD, but as an import that has long since disappeared. UPDATE 2007: Seems that the bonus tracks have changed for the MP3 version of Flex. Only 2 tracks, 'New Toy' and 'Details' are from the EP. You can get 2 other EP songs on Lene's Greatest Hits compilation. 'Never Never Land' is the New Toy EP version, and 'Savages' is the remixed version from the 'No Man's Land' LP."
More Stateless Than Stateless; Underrated
ILikeAmazon | Arlington, VA USA | 06/16/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The late 70s and early 80s were great times for experimental new-wave, and Lene Lovich and her Stiff fellows were trailblazing in many directions. Lene's schtick is angst-cabaret dealing with odd situations, moments, and ephiphanies. Quite a combination. Her quirky delivery has been called goth or "chirp n yodel" or "Balkaneque". And compared to Stateless, this is more true on Flex (though less so on the additional Plus material). Question is: Is the delivery effective? Does it enhance the material? Ans: Clearly. I'll divide up my comments between Flex and the Plus material. Compared to Stateless, Flex is more experimental, bizarre, and all over the map. Is the opening of "Bird Song" a tribute to Yma Sumac? "You Can't Kill Me" is a nightmare wake-up call. "Wonderful One" is pure romp as is "Monkey Talk". The rhythms vary in tempo from hyperactive to largo; Lene's intonations from desperation to joy. Very Flex-ible. Unfortunately, Stateless's Lucky Number / Home / Sleeping Beauty trio is better material than compariable on Flex; but only because those three are so outstanding.In terms of the Plus material, there's great stuff like New Toy and filler like Cats Away (more like throw away). Also, It's You..Only You is a bit monotonous. At least it's toward the end of the CD. Key Question is: If you like Stateless, should you invest in Flex...Plus? Answer is: Absolutely! This isn't some cut-out bin Lene recording. From Bird Song to The Freeze, you'll hear some of the best this genre has to offer. The additional material just makes it Plus."
jjjeeefff | New York | 05/23/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Sorry--hands down the most underappreciated and unique artist of the entire new wave movement. The production values here were way before their time. "Bird Song" is one of my favorite songs ever......What happened to Lene Lovich? Where is she now, when we need her most? More influential than she got credit for. She was "Gothic" at the same time that "Sousxie" and "The Cure" were--maybe even predates them. Not that I think Gothic is the correct term for what she is. There just aren't words to describe........Lene Lovich is amaaaaaaaaaaazing."