music

I turn the radio on, I turn the radio up

It’s easy to compare Alanis Morissette with Lisa Loeb, but Lisa had something Alanis didn’t have. Eyewear. (I’m sure Contempo Casuals sold cat eyeglasses right next to the fluffy pens.)

She turned ‘four eyes’ into ‘nerdy chic.’ She owned it. And when you paired that off with a baby doll dress and Mary Janes, you were wearing the unofficial girly uniform of the Western world in 1994.

loeb

But looks aside, Lisa was singing about all of the things girls in the early ’90s weren’t hearing. Grunge was all the rage. So when Lisa Loeb came into the picture, and sang about wanting, yearning, and regretting, she was speaking to an untapped audience. In her single, “Stay (I Missed You)” which was nominated for a Grammy, making her the first and only recording artist to be nominated for a Grammy under no recording label at the time, she unknowingly painted an anthem for girls everywhere. It was pre-emo. But her music was emotional. And it was deep. In “Do You Sleep?” she continues that theme, when she sings about apathy and letting go. It’s very Alanis “You Outta Know” without the Canadian pitch and the total disdain. It’s cynical and unyielding. And it comes from that place that says, “Dude, I’m not going to put up with your mind games. Later.”

Her most notable albums, Tails and Firecracker are what set the bar for female rockers that followed. Her later albums were much more toned down and bubbily. Her 2008 album, Camp Lisa is just that. Youthful and innocent. Lisa Loeb is just cool. Like, play your guitar in the garage while kids sit around drinking orange soda, cool. And she probably snorts when she laughs. When I think about angry rockers, with a message, I think about Lisa Loeb. Shes’s the underdog.

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