Date: Thu, 5 May 1994 22:01:42 -0700
This is the latest Lisa Germano press release from 4AD.
To find evidence of Lisa Germano's many instrumental talents, then a cursory listen to 'Happiness' or even a glimpse at her session credits will suffice. But to hear what she really has to say, you may have to lean in a little closer because Lisa doesn't sing her heart out... she just whispers it into your ear.
After contributing material to the film 'Falling From Grace', Lisa recorded the largely DIY album, 'On The Way Down From The Moon Palace', for her own Major Bill label (named so because the disc's production cost set her back a "major bill"). The acclaim following the release of '...Moon Palace' led to Germano inking with Capitol and recording 'Happiness' in New Orleans with Daniel Lanois associate Malcolm Burn.
Shortly after its release, 4AD's Ivo Watts-Russell attended the 'In Their Own Words' songwriters showcase at LA's Troubadour and found himself intrigued by Lisa's performance. He then approached Capitol about licensing the 'Happiness' Lp for worldwide rights at a time when that company was undergoing internal changes, and subsequently, all parties agreed that 4AD may be a more suitable home for Lisa's future.
4AD's issue of the 'Happiness' LP features material remixed by John Fryer and Ivo, different artwork & running order, extra tracks ("Betty Says...", "Destroy The Flower", The Earth"), "You Make Me Want To Wear Dresses" has transformed into "The Dresses Song", and 'Happiness' now excludes the cover of "These Boots Are Made For Walking".
Considering the scrutiny and re-assessment that the 'Happiness' sessions produced, it's a testament to Lisa's abilities that the disc is so veracious. Joyless at the core, laments like "What a waste to feel the way I feel" can be found on 'Around The World' while "pain and sadness are real to me" punctuate the LPs title track (if these confessions appear to be lifted from Germano's diary, it's because they are).
Yet despite the allusions to personal torment, Lisa's songs never become bogged down in despair, largely because they're leavened with a pop veneer and an impish sense of humor, "You wish you were pretty but you're not... ha, ha, ha." ("Bad Attitude"). And the extremes are musical as well as emotional, 'Happiness' runs from the plaintive, folky approach of "Cowboy" and "Energy" to texturally dense numbers like "Puppet" without sounding out of context. Germano feels that this version of 'Happiness' is "darker, and makes the idea of happiness more elusive. The contradiction is obvious, so the listener will question it that much more."