Thursday, April 27, 2017

Song of the Day: 'Ticket to the Tropics' by Cristina

I blogged about the sexy post-punk singer back in 2011, but I couldn't find the video for this MTV favorite ... until now! Cristina, the daughter of a French psychoanalyst and an American illustrator-novelist-playwright, was described by one blogger as Lydia Lunch "if Lydia were a debutante," whose lyrics are "bitchy, aloof and hilarious." (Her second album opens with the pulsating "Don't Mutilate My Mink"!) Cristina was a Harvard drop-out who was writing for the Village Voice when she met and married a wealthy British retailing heir who had recently started ZE Records. The cynical "Disco Clone" was her (and the label's) first single, which led to two classic albums -- one produced by August Darnell (aka Kid Creole) and one ("Sleep It Off") by Don Was. After her second album bombed -- the LP was such a commercial failure, in fact, that the sleeve designer ended up reusing the concept for Grace Jones' "Slave to the Rhythm" -- she retired to domestic life in Texas before divorcing and returning to Manhattan. TimeOut New York reported in 2004 that she is battling a "debilitating illness," but I'm not sure what her status is today. 

The long-lost video, above.


Although she was a gifted songwriter, her covers certainly didn't go unnoticed, like this deadpan version of "Drive My Car" by the Beatles ...

And her downtown take on this Peggy Lee classic -- with a rare-for-its-era same-sex twist and a romance that makes "He Hit Me (and It Felt Like a Kiss)" sound like a nursery rhyme -- is also worth a listen. In fact, songwriters Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller were so furious when the original lyrics of their 1969 Grammy-winner were changed this way, they had an injunction against the recording that lasted for 24 years.

One reviewer wrote “If Jackie Kennedy had made a record, it would sound like this.” 


Anonymous said...

Kenneth, thank you so much for shining the spotlight on this terrific, but sadly neglected, talent! Always reminded me of a debutante's take on the Flying Lizards' petulant minimalism. Love her--and you!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this spotlight on one of my favorite "No Wave" artists. Had I been able to die young and leave a beautiful corpse, I would have wanted "What's A Girl To Do" (preferably the Razormaid! mix) played at my funeral. And her Xmas song "Things Fall Apart" is one of the best answers to all that forced happiness Xmas music we get subjected to earlier and earlier each year.

- He Beat Me Black and Blue and I Loved It