German reissue of the former Prince protege's 1990 album, currently out-of-print in the U.S.. Standard jewel case.
Before Alanis, Sheryl, Tori, or Sarah, they did it first!
29-year old wallflower | West Lafayette, IN | 04/27/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you're like me, as welcome as the whole female singer-songwriter craze in the mid-1990s was, somehow it still had a tinge of "haven't we heard this before" feeling to it. But while early pioneers like Carole King or Joni Mitchell may have been the first to thank, with regards to younger idols, chances are the new female rockers were among the few to have enjoyed the work of Wendy & Lisa. The former Prince back-up musicians proved to be more than just satellites of the Purple One with two albums that demonstrated these two ladies saw a resurgence in female musicians coming & got the jump on it early. While their first two albums were criminally undersold, the biggest injustice was left for 1990's EROICA. Clearly an unsung masterpiece of a rather fallow decade for pop music, EROICA probably did not even make it to gold status. Nevertheless, with regards to influence, it outsells any other album that was out on the market at the same time.As they proved on their previous albums, a few traces of their time with Prince could still be found, but Wendy & Lisa still put their distinctive stamp on it, and EROICA has its share of classy, sophisticated uptempo pop. "Turn Me Inside Out" on the one hand sounds so 1990, but on the other it is so solid that rather than simply be an historical artifact, it's an example of what early 1990s dance-pop should have sounded like. The hypnotic groove of the opening "Rainbow Lake" has an added psychedelic feel thanks to Lisa Coleman's Hammond organ & Wendy Melvoin's alluring lead vocal. "Strung Out", "Crack In The Pavement", "Porch Swing" (can you get anymore sultry?) & "Skeleton Key" equally call out to the dance floor, and also prove that because you can be funky doesn't mean you have to throw lyrical genius out with the bathwater.Like their fellow White soul-girl in crime Teena Marie, ballads have been the biggest surefire success for Wendy & Lisa, and EROICA features some of their most hearttugging works. "Don't Try To Tell Me" is enough to bring a tear to your eye with its gently swelling orchestral arrangement and Lisa's moving lead vocal. This could easily have fit in on Madonna's LIKE A PRAYER album of a year earlier. "Mother Of Pearl" is another slow & steady number with the welcome help of k.d. lang on guest vocals, showing the three of them should work together more often. "Why Wait For Heaven" is much louder & guitar-heavy, but still paced enough to qualify as a slower number (also dig that electric cello!). "Valley Vista" is on the opposite side of the spectrum, a laid-back acoustic tune that sounds lifted straight from a jam session on your back porch. The closing "Staring At The Sun" is a midtempo song that encourages the listener to keep their eyes open & see that the world is waiting to be conquered.I'm pretty sure that after their first three albums slipped away because of little record company attention, Wendy & Lisa began to grow dissatisfied with the music industry, with EROICA's non-success being the final straw of sorts. After that, the duo lowered their profile & worked more as supporting musicians, especially with Sheryl Crow who probably had Wendy & Lisa to thank for blazing the trail for female musicians not willing to let the male-dominated music industry get them down. The duo would return 8 years later under a new name & an album that again met silence in the marketplace (1998's GIRL BROS., partly a tribute to Wendy's late brother Jonathan). But while the pioneers may continue to get the short end of the stick as their disciples reap all the platinum awards, more discriminating fans can take comfort in knowing that Wendy & Lisa have the power to continue being ahead of the game in what they do. EROICA is perhaps the road map for the Lilith Fair set that came up in the 1990s, and one only needs to listen to this lost masterpiece to see that the trend wasn't spontaneous & that the people behind it were by all accounts more talented than those who followed them."
Goddesses of Eroica
Armando M. Mesa | Chandler, AZ | 06/03/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"At the time of it's release in 1990 it was (and still is ) an awesome project ahead of its time. Eroica was the blueprint for the Alanis Morrisette clones of the mid to late '90s without the angry and clawing feminist,done-wrong-by-a-man theme. Many critics claimed Eroica to be better than their debut and surpass even Fruit At The Bottom. They even went so far as to say that their sound had changed drastically resembling nothing like the first two projects. However, listen carefully to tracks like Skeleton Key and Strung Out; It is obvious that Eroica was a sophisticated hybrid combining the finest elements from their first two predecessors. Skeleton Key could've been an outtake from Fruit At The Bottom. Strung Out, Staring At The Sun, and Mother of Pearl were reminiscent of their debut project containing the somber hit Waterfall. The only shame is the b-side track titled Stones and Birth ( or Birth and Stones) of the Strung Out single not being included as a bonus track on Eroica; it's an acoustic and percussion gem. The other sad note is that it would take almost a decade later for Wendy & Lisa to resurface under the name GirlBros. GirlBros. was a more personal and introspective album dealing with the tragic loss of Wendy Melvoin's brother Jonathan from Smashing Pumpkins fame.Though Wendy & Lisa are now under the GirlBros. project they still remain one of today's most invaluable and underappreciated songwriters and musicians of our time. Still, for real fans, public interest has not waned; We still look forward to any project or theme they undertake. It is because they are unpredictable and astoundingly gifted (from their proper classical trainings to their funky bad-selves) that they are true survivors of the music industry that can and does often at times eat artists alive..."
A masterpiece ahead of its time
John Jones | Chicago IL | 08/02/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In the mid-90's, when Lillith Fair premiered and the airwaves were inundated with reflective female singer/songwriters, the whole thing must have sounded a bit familiar to those who were lucky enough to be touched by Wendy and Lisa's "Eroica" in 1990, the most striking and impressive outing from the former members of Prince's Revolution. Wendy and Lisa might have gotten the commercial success they so deserve if only they could have waited half a decade to release this sumptuous stunner, but as it stands "Eroica" remains one of the most underrated albums in the history of rock.The album kicks off with the breezy pop/funk of "Rainbow Lake," but from there on the ladies leave all traces of Minneapolis behind and when it comes to having them pegged, all bets are off. "Strung Out" and "Turn Me Inside Out" are infectious doses of adult rock with a retro edge, "Why Wait for Heaven" is a chilling mix of hard rock and psychedelia, and "Staring at the Sun" is a piece of pop as warm and inviting as the planet in its title. "Don't Try to Tell Me" is a sweet and elegant ballad, while "Crack in the Pavement" is so funky the damn thing trembles, and its quirky production perfectly suits the lyrics' tale of a hardened lover coming to terms with true romance.Particularly impressive is the fact that even when Wendy and Lisa allow their lyrics to be partially about Prince on "Porch Swing" (the line "there's a guy I know/takes things real slow" could be a little dig at his erratic production schedules, and the line "he could speak of love and make the moon blush" needs no explanation), the song's musical style couldn't be any further away from Minneapolis if they boarded a plane to record it, as the women dabble in the bluesy country pop that Sheryl Crow would experiment with later in the decade. But the record's crowning moments come on the elegant, folksy ballad "Mother of Pearl" (which features a vocal by kd lang) and the sophisticated jazz fusion workout "Skeleton Key"...give yourself bonus points if you have the first clue what either song is about lyrically, proving the old adage that the more beautiful something may appear, the more difficult it is.But then, Wendy and Lisa have never been an easy figure. In fact, the only thing obvious about "Eroica" is that there is serious, adult musicianship at hand, and the players the women surround themselves with have never been tighter (throughout the record, drum licks by Carla Azar are especially, consistently impressive). That, and the fact that Wendy and Lisa, fearless creators of eyebrow-raising production and haunting, unpredictable songwriting, have come a hell of a long way from Minneapolis. Prince who?"
STUNNING MUSICAL DIVERSITY, AHEAD OF IT'S TIME!
John Jones | 11/11/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"By the time of this albums release in 1990, music was becoming an addiction for me. I was already a huge fan of these two gifted women. In my opinion, this is their finest album to date. "Rainbow Lake" starts the proceedings off with a funky, mellow groove, slinky, soft percussion, and a muted bass line that coaxes the song along briskly, but without overwhelming Wendy Melvoin's laid back vocals. A nice introduction. The next number, "Strung Out" dives headlong into heavy drums, a persistently itchy guitar line and the goosebump inducing harmonies of Wendy, Lisa Coleman, and their crack backing band of family members and freinds. You'll be singing the chorus to this one for days. The Michael Penn assisted "Mother Of Pearl" follows, building from Melvoin's gently strummed acoustic intro to a crashing electrified chorus. More spine-tingling harmonies here too. One of the album's many sonic highlights is track number 4, the Lisa Coleman sung "Don't Try To Tell Me" a stunningly orchestrated, beautifully rendered piece of classical pop that owes a great debt to mid-60's, Revolver-Era Beatles. Not any group can pull off such an edgy experiment, but these ladies succeed beautifully and manage to sound heartfelt without sounding pretentious or mannered. This song is bested only by "Why Wait For Heaven" the wah-wah guitar drenched slow burner that opens side two. Sounding like a long lost outtake from "Electric Ladyland" , this outstanding piece is the album's highlight. The sounds and textures explored here, from Melvoin's searing vocals, to Carla Azar's crisp, scattershot drumming along with a wicked electric cello(!) solo, this song is a feast for the ears! Once you hear it, it just keeps coming back. The swirling, bass heavy funk of "Turn Me Inside Out" keeps the momentum going and sports the best coda on the album with the "loving you, loving you" chorus evaporating into a jazzy, brisk instumental passage that is abrubtly jarred by the slamming, polyrythmic drums of "Skeleton Key"(a song heavily sampled by Arrested Development a couple of years later). Wendy's popping, Larry Graham-ish bass playing is another highlight. The remainder of this solid album veers toward acoustic based, Cali-style rock ("Porch Swing", "Crack In The Pavement",the indelible should-have-been-a-hit,"Valley Vista" and the album closing "Staring At The Sun" that round out the album and add to it's feeling of effortless diversity. This music on this album is notable for many reasons, not the least of which is how it pre-dates the sound of many female acts of the present day who have a huge follwing among the "Lilith Fair" crowd. These gifted young women started it all and proper recognition for their innovations is long overdue. Now available as an import only, if you happen to stumble across "EROICA" in any format, grab it, and to it's creators, you are sorely missed. This album stands as a towering documet to the creativity once running rampant in your brains and pop music was better for your presence. Please return in a hurry, the music world needs you."
THE masterpiece of the 90's!!!!
duggalolly | beyond the waterfall | 10/04/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Wendy and Lisa are one of my all-time favorite artists, and I feel they have been overlooked far too often. They have stayed true to their own sound and style for two decades now, writing and performing all their own music without pretension. EROICA, released in 1990, is their finest hour, and one of my favorite albums of all time. The mix of styles, from rock and pop to funk and folk, sounds truly effortless and never seems forced. This is one of those albums where you can just get lost in the music, without having to think about it. Everything just comes together so well! From the psychedelic pop of "Rainbow Lake" and "Strung Out", to powerful rockers like "Why Wait For Heaven", to the laid-back funk of "Crack In The Pavement", this album has it all. Every song has insightful, intimate lyrics, and Wendy and Lisa are at their most focused musically, too. Case in point: this album has been around for over a decade, and it does not sound dated at all! On past albums, Wendy and Lisa were still trying to find a niche after splitting with Prince. With this album, they really found their own groove! As I said before, the album feels so effortless and focused, it is surely the work of two great artists at the peak of their creativity. I truly feel that this is one of the LANDMARK albums of the 1990's, coming as it did before the whole Lilith Fair movement. Unfortunately, many people never got to hear EROICA, because less deserving acts were getting all the promotion. Luckily, you don't have to be one of THOSE unenlightented people... go and hear this spiritual, intelligent, soulful album while you can!"