Now What

Studio Album by released in 2005

Now What review

The daughter of the King of Rock n’ Roll has released the follow-up to her first album To Whom It May Concern (which has gone platinum) with Now What. Like the title of her long-anticipated 2003 debut, the title of Lisa Marie Presley's 2005 sophomore effort is an acknowledgement of the state of her career, a message to anyone paying attention, whether they were a fan, friend, Elvis fanatic or obsessive tabloid reader. Now What proves that she's attempting to have a full-blown career, not just because it appeared quickly after the debut but because it's a stronger, more distinctive album than her debut. With this LP, Lisa Marie has focused on the musical side of her career while still maintaining her deep, satiric lyrics.

This is a great album to start off with if you're not yet familiar with Lisa Marie's unusually strong talents. Why? First of all, this album is full of songs Lisa Marie wrote herself. She wears her heart on her sleeve. Actually, many of these songs deal with common human feelings at one point in life or another; this helps you identify with her and the experience of listening is even better for it. The album opens with the incredibly strong I'll Figure It Out. She exposes her raw emotions and honest feelings about media frenzy in her arrangement of Dirty Laundry (this song was originally performed by Don Henley). Presley also triumphs when collaborating with other artists. Lisa and Pink worked together to produce the great song Shine. Linda Perry of 4 Non Blondes, who worked wonders in polishing the songs of Christina Aguilera, Gwen Stefani, and Pink, also contributed some to the writings of some of the lyrics. Steve Jones, the guitarist from the Sex Pistols plays on two tracks, the biting Idiot and the song Here Today, Gone Tomorrow. Presley's style is sensuous and assertive-and this only serves to strengthen her performance even further. She opens a wide window on her vulnerability on the wrenchingly painful When You Go and in the alcoholic haze of High Enough.

There aren't many soft moments here; even on the ballads, Lisa Marie growls, which makes them all the more appealing. The smartest thing about the record is that instead of trying to clean up her attitude, Presley and her collaborators are unapologetic about having Lisa Marie play the sexy yet vulnerable bad girl, keeping the music alternately moody and hard. Beneath the hard exterior, there's a likeable girl, best represented on songs like Raven. The track, the title of which presumably references her mother's formerly dyed black hair, includes a voice sample of a 3-year-old Presley and, along with Shine, and the string-laden Turned To Black, features one of Presley's best vocal performances to date.

Lisa Marie Presley is a strong creative force on the music scene. She is far more than just Elvis' daughter trying to scratch out a few tunes to put out a moneymaker album. Instead, this Now What is an excellent example of her talent. Whatever you think of Lisa Marie Presley — serial bride, Scientologist, and let’s not even mention Michael Jackson – you can’t deny the girl has guts. That was apparent with her long-awaited 2003 recording debut, To Whom It May Concern, but it’s even more obvious with her sophomore album, the appropriately titled Now What. Though the collection of rockers and ballads reprises the portrait of Presley as an explosively angry woman who feels jumpy in her own skin, it also frames her as a passionate artist with a brilliantly wicked sense of humor and a gift for language (often shamelessly profane).