Not so long ago, I was obsessed with Linda Ronstadt. Her posters decorated my walls and her albums sifted into my record collection. But something was missing.
I'd listen to "Blue Bayou," "Tracks of My Tears," whatever, and while she sang beautifully, I was unsatisfied. I kept asking myself, "Is Linda Ronstadt just a voice and a pretty face?"
Now she releases Mad Love.
Mad Love is Ronstadt's transition to "new wave" music. She chose three Elvis Costello tunes, and three additional songs from an LA new wave band, the Cretones. "How do I Make You" is an energetic display of Ronstadt's potential in new wave. It retains the torchy Ronstadt-quality image, but fuses a basic rock 'n' roll sound; something that was terribly inconsistent in previous Ronstadt releases.
Her attempts on other songs, especially the Costello tracks, are very courageous and impressive. "Party Girl," although it does not totally shred Costello's version, is a favorite to be her next released single.
Peter Asher once again, impeccably produced Ronstadt's album, and her back-up band makes their best effort to date.
Quite frankly, if she had adopted this "new wave" sound before Living in the USA two years ago, she could have blown Deborah Harry right off the stage.