Lilith Fair: A Celebration Of Women In Music Volume 3
Nettwerk / Arista Records, 1999
REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 06/03/1999
Gee, it seems like just yesterday we were talking about Lilith Fair: A Celebration Of Women In Music Volume 2... oh, wait, it was yesterday.
Released simulataneously with the second volume, Lilith Fair... Volume 3 might have been okay as the second disc to the set (kind of like the first volume in the series was packaged last year). Instead, it stands out as being the weaker of the two discs, and the one that you might not need to rush out and pick up immediately.
Just from the artist list, this would seem like an excellent collection. You've got Liz Phair, Suzanne Vega, Luscious Jackson and the Indigo Girls - as well as tour founder Sarah McLachlan - all on one disc, so you would think this one would rock your world.
If only it did. Often, the performances dare to suggest that the songs we fell in love with on the original albums or on the radio can't be re-created live in the same fashion. Phair tries her best with "Never Said" - a song that I still think is one of her best works ever - but it just lacks the urgency that the studio version had. Likewise, Sixpence None The Richer fail to capitalize on their recent turn in the limelight with a half-hearted rendition of "Kiss Me" - a track I expected to blow me away live.
But for each moderate failure, there is a moderate success. Luscious Jackson's "Naked Eye" is a tough cut to try and reproduce live on stage, but they do a pretty good job under the circumstances. Likewise, Vega's acoustic guitar rendition of "Luka" actually emphasizes the disturbing side this song has always had, and it makes it that much more powerful.
Once again, Lilith Fair... Volume 3 tends to showcase the lesser-known artists more than the established acts. K's Choice had a hit with "Not An Addict," and this version does not disappoint. N'Dea Davenport ("Underneath a Red Moon"), Rebekah ("Little Black Girl") and Chantal Kreviazuk ("Surrounded") all make the most of their brief appearances on this disc, and serve up songs that are sure to get you interested in their other works.
I'll give the sleeper award on this album to Emmylou Harris - who, you may recall, duetted with McLachlan on "Angel" on Volume 2, in a rendition I thought brought down the song. Now on her own, Harris dares to step out of the country trappings she's best known for and really tears the house down with "Deeper Well," a song that pleasantly surprised me.
What would have made this particular volume work better? Had the most recent volumes been combined and the track listing shuffled a bit, I think the set would have been more manageable. But now, the consumer might find themselves torn between purchasing Volume 2 or Volume 3, and the earlier title is a better effort as it stands now.
Lilith Fair... Volume 3 still has enough moments on it to justify adding it to your collection, but it does suggest that the concept and its marketing might be running out of steam.