Lisa Loeb & Nine Stories

Geffen Records, 1995


REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


Talk about pressure. It's one thing for a group or an artist to come off the biggest album of their career and be expected to repeat that level of success. But in the case of Lisa Loeb in the mid-'90s, the pressure had to be ten times worse. Here she was, a singer-songwriter who didn't even have a record deal, and she scored the biggest hit on the Reality Bites soundtrack with "Stay". Now, she was expected to have a blockbuster debut album after just one song.

I'm not saying I'd have done any better under this kind of pressure. But there is something a little unsatisfying about my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Tails, the debut effort from Loeb and her band Nine Stories. While there are some great performances on this disc (including a potential hit single that Geffen let get away - more on that in a moment), the bulk of this disc seems a tad lackadaisical, almost feeling like she was trying to coast on her past success. If only there had been more success to fall back on.

Although this disc reprises "Stay" (almost to bookend where Loeb was in 1995 with where she came from), Tails is best known for the single "Do You Sleep?", another unrequited love song in the vein of "Stay". It doesn't have the same kind of emotional punch, though, and while there is still enough in the song to make it enjoyable, it's hardly a memorable follow-up.

The call should have been sent out to "Waiting For Wednesday," a three-minute blast of energy that woulda, coulda, shoulda catapulted Loeb and Nine Stories into the stratosphere of success. The faster tempo and more electrified sound would have shown listeners that Loeb was hardly set in one musical pattern, and could have opened some serious doors for Loeb's career. (You see? This is why I will never get a paying job in the music industry - some of my ideas make sense.)

Snide comments about the industry aside, I will admit that even the power of "Waiting For Wednesday" and "Stay" aren't quite enough to pull Tails out of the doldrums. It's not until the third song on the disc, "Taffy," that Loeb really seems to turn the energy on; "It's Over" and "Snow Day" both just fail to spark any interest. After these three, Tails becomes hit or miss with each selection; for every good song like "Hurricane" and "Sandalwood," there's a letdown like "Lisa Listen".

Make no mistake, the talent is most definitely there, and when Loeb and her band turn on the charm, it seems like there is nothing to stop them. If only Tails had more moments like that to make it a more special effort. Loeb became famous for one song; this disc doesn't offer as much as it should have to suggest there was more to come.

Rating: C

User Rating: B-



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