January 24, 2008

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Lisa Loeb, The Purple Tape
Furious Rose Productions, Jan. 22
1990s geek-pixie Lisa Loeb kills a few birds by including a full CD’s worth of softball NPR-style interviews along with the first-ever digital release of The Purple Tape. One: yes, even she looks back in horror at the white dress with cowboy boots; second, back in the day, she didn’t know what the word “stultify” meant and she still kind of doesn’t.

But that’s okay; either way she did (barely) survive the collapse of all things grunge with the help of a formula that cauterizes bummer situations with simple girlish wistfulness, not to mention a knack for marketing that almost single-handedly made four-eyed chicks painfully sexy. Purple Tape was where it all started for her, a 10-song demo of unplugged material to give clubgoers something to remember her by. The big hit was/is “Do You Sleep” (this is the raw version, a precursor to what was on the Tails album), though nearly every song represented her Ani DiFranco for Dummies approach, which she couldn’t (and still can’t) help; DiFranco didn’t have a gastroenterologist dad put her through Brown University and couldn’t afford to be as scatterbrained as Loeb, thus one woman is for the heavy thinkers and one is for the roller-rinks. But then again, they couldn’t survive without each other, could they? B- — E. W. S.