Lisa Marie Presely: Storm and Grace

Presley has been transformed. She admits she erred in judgment about the her place in the world, her faith in god, her friends, and even herself. She wants to start over.

Lisa Marie Presley

Storm and Grace

Label: Universal Republic
US Release Date: 2012-05-15
UK Release Date: 2012-05-14

The most notable aspect of the latest Lisa Marie Presley record is just how languid it sounds. The music suggests the storms in her life are over, and that that she has found grace. Hah! That’s a laugh. The lyrics reveal a different woman who still has animosity towards those who have done her wrong. Presley’s the aural equivalent of David Banner in the new Avengers flick. When asked how he remains calm and doesn’t always transform into the Hulk, Banner responds with something like, “The secret is that I am always angry.” That’s Presley’s furtive strategy as well.

Well, that and the help of producer T Bone Burnett. His production includes sweeping sonic soundscapes with sparse instrumentation, like John Ford’s panorama’s of the Old West. Except here it’s the twang of a guitar rather than a mesa, the pounding of a snare drum instead of tom toms, and the lonesome wail of Presley instead of John Wayne’s stoic stare. The big picture Burnett provides intentionally makes Presley seem small and human.

This allows Presley to complain without seeming spoiled. Her persona on this disc is that of a smart and sensitive woman. This is both a blessing and a curse to her. She is smart enough to know that some people have used her in ways that were not in her benefit, but soft enough to forgive them. That doesn’t mean she’s not angry anymore. Or that she’s trusting. Consider the recitation that begins “So Long”.

This here is the city without lights

Those are all the people without eyes

Judges they don’t have soul

Soup for sale without a bowl

Religion so corrupt and wrong it lies

Farewell, fair-weather friends

I can’t say I miss you in the end

So Long. It seems that I was so wrong

Presley has been transformed. She admits she erred in judgment about the her place in the world, her faith in god, her friends, and even herself. She wants to start over. This is the grace she sings about later in the title song. She can accept her mistakes and wants to move on. Burnett’s Americana style production grounds her vision of the future in her personal past.

So she boldly sings on “You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet", “I’m a bit transgressive and subversive as well”. Some people may see her as evil for the things she is doing (the song is allegedly about her break with Scientology), but she’s literally marching to her own drummer here. Sure she can forgive. There’s a touchingly wistful tune called “Forgiving” that purposely sounds unconvincing.

Yeah, and she’s not angry anymore, except that she is. Presley may be a bit confused about the new life that awaits her and openly admits that she is somewhat directionless. But she also assures the listener that she’s okay now. She may not turn into The Hulk, but as the only daughter of one king and the former bride of another -- not to mention as a one-time tabloid queen during her turbulent marriage to Hollywood’s Nicholas Cage -- Presley has been larger than life. That’s all right. Everything is under control now.


The year in song reflected the state of the world around us. Here are the 70 songs that spoke to us this year.

70. The Horrors - "Machine"

On their fifth album V, the Horrors expand on the bright, psychedelic territory they explored with Luminous, anchoring the ten new tracks with retro synths and guitar fuzz freakouts. "Machine" is the delicious outlier and the most vitriolic cut on the record, with Faris Badwan belting out accusations to the song's subject, who may even be us. The concept of alienation is nothing new, but here the Brits incorporate a beautiful metaphor of an insect trapped in amber as an illustration of the human caught within modernity. Whether our trappings are technological, psychological, or something else entirely makes the statement all the more chilling. - Tristan Kneschke

Keep reading... Show less

Electronic music is one of the broadest-reaching genres by design, and 2017 highlights that as well as any other year on record. These are the 20 best albums.

20. Vitalic - Voyager (Citizen)

Pascal Arbez-Nicolas (a.k.a. Vitalic) made waves in the French Touch electro-house scene with his 2005 debut, OK Cowboy, which had a hard-hitting maximalist sound, but several albums later, Voyager finds him launching into realms beyond at his own speed. The quirky, wallflower vocals and guitar snippets employed throughout Voyager drop a funk that brings to mind WhoMadeWho or Matthew Dear if they had disco-pop injected between their toes. "Levitation" is as pure a slice of dance floor motivation as theoretically possible, a sci-fi gunfight with a cracking house beat sure to please his oldest fans, yet the album-as-form is equally effective in its more contemplative moments, like when Miss Kitten's vocals bring an ethereal dispassion to "Hans Is Driving" to balance out its somber vocoder or the heartfelt cover of "Don't Leave Me Now" by Supertramp. Voyager may infect you with a futuristic form of Saturday Night Fever, but afterwards, it gives you a hearty dose of aural acetaminophen to break it. - Alan Ranta

Keep reading... Show less

Hitchcock, 'Psycho', and '78/52: Hitchcock's Shower Scene'

Alfred Hitchock and Janet Leigh on the set of Psycho (courtesy of Dogwoof)

"... [Psycho] broke every taboo you could possibly think of, it reinvented the language of film and revolutionised what you could do with a story on a very precise level. It also fundamentally and profoundly changed the ritual of movie going," says 78/52 director, Alexandre O. Philippe.

The title of Alexandre O. Philippe's 78/52: Hitchcock's Shower Scene (2017) denotes the 78 set-ups and the 52 cuts across a full week of shooting for Psycho's (1960) famous shower scene. Known for The People vs. George Lucas (2010), The Life and Times of Paul the Psychic Octopus (2012) and Doc of the Dead (2014), Philippe's exploration of a singular moment is a conversational one, featuring interviews with Walter Murch, Peter Bogdanovich, Guillermo del Toro, Jamie Lee Curtis, Osgood Perkins, Danny Elfman, Eli Roth, Elijah Wood, Bret Easton Ellis, Karyn Kusama, Neil Marshall, Richard Stanley and Marli Renfro, body double for Janet Leigh.

Keep reading... Show less

Rather than once again exploring the all-too-familiar territory of Dickens' A Christmas Carol, Samantha Silva's debut novel contextualizes the work's origins and gets inside the mind of its creator.

Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol has been told and retold so many times over the years that, by this point, one might be hard-pressed to find a single soul evenly glancingly familiar with western culture who isn't at least tangentially acquainted with the holiday classic. This is, of course, a bit of holiday-themed hyperbole, but the fact remains that the basic premise of A Christmas Carol has become so engrained in our culture that it would seem near impossible to imagine a time prior to its existence. It's universally-relatable themes of the power of kindness, redemption and forgiveness speaks to the heart of the Christmas season – at least as it has been presented in the 174 years since it was first published in 19 December 1843 -- just in time for Christmas.

Keep reading... Show less

Following his excellent debut record Communion, Rabit further explores the most devastating aspects of its sound in his sophomore opus Les Fleurs du Mal.

Back in 2015 Rabit was unleashing Communion in the experimental electronic scene. Combining extreme avant-garde motifs with an industrial perspective on top of the grime sharpness, Eric C. Burton released one of the most interesting records of that year. Blurring lines between genres, displaying an aptitude for taking things to the edge and the fact that Burton was not afraid to embrace the chaos of his music made Communion such an enticing listen, and in turn set Rabit to be a "not to be missed" artist.

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.