March 16, 2010

Album Review

Released in conjunction with the silver screen dramatization of the Runaways’ saga, Hip-O Select’s The Mercury Albums Anthology rounds up the group’s four albums - 1976’s The Runaways, plus Live in Japan, Queens of Noise, and Waitin’ for the Night, all released in 1977-- in a slick two-disc set. Anybody won over to the Runaways via the charms or Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning will find this to be much too much -- really, they’ll be satiated by a quick download of “Cherry Bomb” -- as this is intended for connoisseurs of sleaze and those under the impression that the female foursome were pioneers not at all under the skeevy thumb of Kim Fowley. Both groups may find what’s contained on Mercury Albums Anthology somewhat underwhelming: the Runaways plodded as much as the plundered, hammering out three-chord riffs that had more to do with frizzy-haired metal than any kind of proto-punk. Live, they had a modicum of energy, as evidenced by Live in Japan, but they wound up being highly polished and packaged in the studio, with Fowley steering them ever so slightly toward sticky, disposable bubblegum. Joan Jett eventually wound up digging in her heels, asserting control on Waitin’ for the Night, but by then, the band was straining under Fowley’s direction, and the end was near. All this is, of course, apparent on this de facto complete recordings -- they knocked out another record after leaving Mercury -- but the lasting impression of this double-disc set is that the Runaways’ myth is always better than their music.
Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. Cherry Bomb
  2. You Drive Me Wild
  3. Is It Day or Night?
  4. Thunder
  5. Rock N Roll
  6. Lovers
  7. American Nights
  8. Blackmail
  9. Secrets
  10. Dead End Justice
  11. Queens of Noise [Live In Japan] [Live]
  12. California Paradise [Live In Japan] [Live]
  13. All Right You Guys [Live In Japan] [Live]
  14. Wild Thing [Live In Japan] [Live]
  15. Gettin' Hot [Live In Japan] [Live]
  16. Rock N Roll [Live In Japan] [Live]
  17. You Drive Me Wild [Live In Japan] [Live]
  18. Neon Angels On the Road To Ruin [Live In Japan] [Live]
  19. I Wanna Be Where the Boys Are [Live In Japan] [Live]
  20. Cherry Bomb [Live In Japan] [Live]
  21. American Nights [Live In Japan] [Live]
  22. C' Mon [Live In Japan] [Live]
  23. Queens of Noise
  24. Take It or Leave It
  25. Midnight Music
  26. Born to Be Bad
  27. Neon Angels on the Road to Ruin
  28. I Love Playin' With Fire
  29. California Paradise
  30. Hollywood
  31. Heart Beat
  32. Johnny Guitar
  33. Little Sister
  34. Wasted
  35. Gotta Get Out Tonight
  36. Wait For Me
  37. Fantasies
  38. School Days
  39. Trash Can Murders
  40. Don't Go Away
  41. Waitin' For the Night
  42. You're Too Possessive
purchase full album