Lisa Loeb started her career at the top with her No. 1 song "Stay (I Missed You)." Since then, she?s achieved Gold and Platinum sales, been nominated for a Grammy, and had her own television series on the Food Network. T... more »he Way It Really Is, her new album, chronicles life and love through 11 tracks ? all featuring the insightful song-craft that is Loeb?s signature style.« less
Lisa Loeb started her career at the top with her No. 1 song "Stay (I Missed You)." Since then, she?s achieved Gold and Platinum sales, been nominated for a Grammy, and had her own television series on the Food Network. The Way It Really Is, her new album, chronicles life and love through 11 tracks ? all featuring the insightful song-craft that is Loeb?s signature style.
Invisiboy2001 | Chicago, IL United States | 08/17/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Lisa Loeb's latest effort (which curiously borrows its name from a track that appeared on Loeb's previous releases "Cake & Pie" and "Hello Lisa") shows the marks of a stumbling artist torn between what she wants to do and what she, artistically, probably should be doing. Bottom line: Loeb is essentially a pop singer, not a deep folkie. Sure, she is the definitive coffeehouse cutie, and that's fine. But don't expect anything new (or especially "deep") from this new CD, despite the artist's most assured efforts. This CD shows evidence of a steep decline in the literacy and depth of emotion from Loeb's two most recent CDs.
After Loeb's luscious "Cake & Pie" CD, I was genuinely excited -both for Loeb as a successful person and as an intriguing, blossoming artist. There was an elevated sense of confidence and energy on that record that had not appeared on Loeb's first two CDs. "The Way it Really Is" is not devoid of confidence; in fact, the CD's three best tracks ("I Control The Sun," "Fools Like Me" and "Probably") bubble with excitement. Where Loeb stumbles is her approach to the slower material; rather than "slowing things down," the lower-key numbers bring the CD's flow to an embarrassing, screeching halt. The first offender is "Hand-Me-Downs," which is merely one of several songs that use metaphor with the subtlety of a baseball bat to the head. Another metaphor-heavy track, "Accident," is the least palatable track (read: barely tolerable) this collection has to offer.
Is this album terrible? No, it isn't. Lisa Loeb does not make "bad" records. But this is clearly not the best she can do -not by a long shot. Loeb set the standard for herself with "Cake & Pie," and she will hopefully make another album as brilliant as that one. However, I do hope this CD does well - Lisa Loeb hasn't had a hit since "I Do" in the mid-`90s-and she does deserve some recognition for the thoroughly talented, capable and underrated artist that she is. Unfortunately, this CD does not showcase this fine artist at her best.
An old friend with some new tricks.
David Archer | Bethel Park, Pennsylvania | 08/10/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Lisa Loeb has always been a favorite artist of mine, and as a fan I've always felt she's been terribly underrated. However, I can understand how her music from her previous releases might not have caught on as much as I would have liked. That understanding goes out the window, however, with "The Way it Really Is."
In her first release for Zoë/Rounder, Loeb has taken a much darker turn than on her previous efforts, but the results couldn't be more luminous. Her wordplay and skill with metaphors is taken to new levels with the quirky, interesting "Window Shopping" and the rockingly dismissive "Diamonds." "Fools Like Me" and "I Control the Sun" prove that she can still turn some contagious hooks, and "Probably" nicely summates both her craft as a musician and lyricist with its seamless marriage of hooky refrain and smart lyrics.
The real revelations here, though, are her introspective and dynamic numbers scattered throughout. "Hand Me Downs" and "Lucky Me" are sensitive and gut-wrenching songs about cutting off relationships while "Try" and "Would You Wander" betray any cynicism with genuine hopefulness. Meanwhile, "Accident" is a heavy-handed social commentary that is so dead-on that it can be difficult to just listen to. All of these tracks are driven home by Loeb's expert delivery, which stirs an uncanny amount of pathos from the listener, and her understated guitar-playing.
Anyone that has thought Lisa Loeb jejune - or even just a one-hit-wonder for her chart-topping "Stay" - needs only to listen to this new song cycle of coming to terms with who you are and what you have to see that she is a stimulating and clever troubadour that is a musical force of great importance and worth."
Lisa Grows Up
Tim | 09/03/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Lisa Loeb leaves behind her "Hello Kitty" phase to deliver some powerful pop and folk gems. This album has a lot of songs about breaking up (maybe she should've titled it "Goodbye Kitty") and includes some of her best work yet. Those who only know her from her hit "Stay" are missing a terrific body of work. "The Way It Really Is" needs a few repeated listens to fully sink in, but it has some immediate stand-outs that grab you and stick in your brain.
"I Control the Sun" will have you humming all day long as soon as you hear it. It is the kind of hooky power pop Lisa excels at creating. "Fools Like Me" has a mellow, relaxed groove that belies some darker lyrics ("You must really love her. You think I don't know but I do...").
But is the slow songs where Lisa's talent truly shines. "Try" is a piano-driven hopeful plea to a pessimistic love ("To me it's kind of small, to you it's like prison") that may surprise you at just how well Lisa can sing. "Hand Me Downs" is a ballad tinged with determined anger ("You always lie. And it's a decision. I am leaving") that would not sound out of place on her debut album "Tails". "Accident" is the most experimental of the bunch, a vivid comment on our fascination with the misfortunes of others ("we squeeze our eyes shut but leave a space to see").
Musically, the album does jump around a bit in styles and tempo that sometimes don't seem to flow. But lyrically, Loeb takes you on an always insightful, linear journey from the first doubts about the future of a relationship ("Window Shopping", "I Control the Sun"), to attempts to make it work ("Try", "Would You Wander") and finally to the breakup ("Accident", "Lucky Me") and eventual hope for recovery ("Now I Understand").
Anyone who hasn't been excited about anything on the radio in years, or just appreciates good songwriting should give Loeb a try."
Her most personal album yet
KiWiSouP | Minneapolis, MN USA | 11/10/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This release caught me off guard as I had heard nothing of it before I saw it at the store. I saw the title "The Way It Really Is" and thought that it was a single, but was very happy to find that it wasn't. Lisa Loeb and her music has grown over the years...for the better I believe. She may not have the best album sales, but that's because of lack of promotion. This release shows a new maturity and vulnerability we haven't previously heard. This album is far from sugar coated like some of her previous ones. Many of these songs are about Lisa and Dweezel's recent breakup, which many don't even know about considering their TV show on the food network is still airing reruns. Highlights from this Album are "Hand Me Downs", "Try", and "Probably". If you asked me my favorite song off this album...I honestly couldn't tell you. There are so many!"