Image © Arista Records 2001
Image © Arista Records 2001
(05 October 2001) The debut album from 19-year old American singer
songwriter Lennon Murphy, comprised of twelve primarily metal-edged rock
tracks, is entitled 5:30 Saturday Morning (Arista (USA)
07822014669-2, 2001). Lennon clearly has it all—songwriting dexterity,
gorgeous voice, looks, and body as well as a polished on-stage persona—as
the videos at her website
clearly illustrate. Rolling Stone wrote, "Lennon Murphy is
every hard-rock-loving dude's wet dream—a voluptuous teenage vixen
with a penchant for bawdy lyrics and dark metal riffs."
Ever since Lennon played her first gig—a three hour show at a dingy
club in Hendersonville, Tennessee, when she was only fifteen—she's
understood how to raise eyebrows. "I like to say very sexual things
just for shock value," she explains. "When I was younger, it was fun
to hear whispers around the room like, 'She's fifteen!'."
Until recently Lennon's primary audience—not to mention mentor,
collaborator and inspiration—was her mother Kathleen Murphy, an
aspiring songwriter. Floored by her daughter's talent, Kathleen
assumed a management role, culling players from the Nashville scene,
booking gigs and negotiationg with the various record companies,
vying for the young artist. Meanwhile Lennon's life was,
"School—basically all honours classes—and between homework and
tests, I wrote songs and did shows."
Just after she turned 18, Lennon returned home from school to
find her mother dead, apparently from an allergic reaction. She
became responsible for her eight-year old sister, Mariella, and
secured a record deal with Arista that helped her prevail over a
fierce custody battle with an aunt who had suddenly yang to step
into their lives.
An accomplished singer and piano player, having studied guitar
and saxophone as well, Lennon sings and plays piano on her debut
album. She is joined by Scotty Smith, Eli McFadden and Spider
(guitars), Kenny Aronoff (drums), Jerry Flowers and Scott Borland
(bass). Production credits are split across Jeffrey Pringle,
Scotty Smith and others. Signed to Arista, the production quality
on Lennon's debut album is simply tremendous. Enthusiasts of Lacuna
Coil's Cristina Scabbia
(review) are certain to
Lennon's debut album.
Tracks on 5:30 Saturday Morning range from typically heavy
metal, including occasional 'grunting' ("Property of Goatf***er")
to anthemic rockers to gentler and more subtle ballads.
Anthems like "Morning" and "I Hear" with their relentless rhythm and
lead guitars to love-is-hell pieces such as bleak and trechorous "Brake
of Your Car" and "These Days," a storm of menacing guitars, lush
keyboards and monstrous background growls, it is obvious that
Lennon is into the hard stuff. Yet she also uncannily merges
the heavy with the heavenly on "Couldn't Breathe" and weilds
whispers on the Fula-like (review)
hammering "Trying To Make Me."
"My Beautiful" is especially reminscent of Lacuna Coil with
Lennon's gorgeous voice in stark contrast to raunchy moderate
tempo electric guitar lines while the ballad "Asking You" is one
of the most gentle tunes on the album highlighting the artist's
more tender side. Although harder than the Alanis Morissette
song with a similar lyric, "Thank You," is a cross between ballad
and anthem, sung over richly arranged guitar and percussion.
The blend of traditional rock, heavy metal and ballad works
extremely well in "Couldn't Breathe." Accompanied only by piano,
the title track that brings the project to a conclusion is the
gentlest and most sweetly sung of the album.
Clearly one of the best albums by an emerging artist we've
heard this year, Lennon's 5:30 Saturday Morning is one
that will delight Musical Discoveries' readers. Additional
biographical information, photos, music samples and
video segments are both available at the artist's
Read further reviews, listen to soundbites and order Lennon's
album at amazon.com
here. Clearly an album worth a cross country or perhaps even a trans-Atlantic journey, this one is a must listen!