Flex (album)

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Flex
Lene Lovich - Flex CD album cover.jpg
Studio album by Lene Lovich
Released 1979
Recorded 1979
Wisseloord Studios
(Hilversum, Netherlands)
Genre New wave
Length 37:38
Label Stiff
Producer
Lene Lovich chronology
Stateless
(1978)
Flex
(1979)
No Man's Land
(1982)
Singles from Flex
  1. "Bird Song"
    Released: September 28, 1979
  2. "Angels"
    Released: January 1980
  3. "What Will I Do Without You?"
    Released: March 1980
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3/5 stars[1]
Smash Hits 6/10[2]

Flex is the second studio album by American singer-songwriter Lene Lovich, released in 1979 by Stiff Records. The album is produced by Lovich and Les Chappell with additional production by Roger Bechirian and Alan Winstanley. It was recorded at the Wisseloord Studios in Hilversum, Netherlands. She worked with Chappell and Judge Smith on writing the songs.

The cover sleeve depicts Lovich wearing a wedding dress and playing with hockey pucks on a string. It was taken inside a stainless steel fermentation tank at a Guinness brewery, after it had been emptied prior to cleaning. It caused controversy and few members of the Baptist church tried to get the album banned in the United States, saying it depicted an act of witchcraft.

Lovich described Flex as her more introverted album. After its release, it received relatively positive reviews praising album's enhanced production compared to her previous album Stateless' rough sound. It was also more successful in charts, peaking at number 94 on the Billboard 200 and number 19 on the UK Albums Chart.[3] The lead single "Bird Song" peaked at number 39 on the UK Singles Chart. The following singles were "Angels" and "What Will I Do Without You?", of which the latter peaked at number 58.[3]

The release of the album was followed by Lovich's first sold-out tour in the United States and a three-month tour within Europe, the highlight of which was a sold-out show in front of 10,000 fans in Belgrade.[4]

Background and recording[edit]

After the release of her successful debut album Stateless (1978), Lovich embarked on the Be Stiff '78 tour along with four other artists from the recording label. In the middle of 1979, she had two top 20 hits, "Lucky Number" and "Say When", and was voted "Top Female Recording Artist of the Year" by Music Week.[4] She went on to record her second more improved album and enhance the quality of productions by using modern technology and instruments to achieve a better sound than her previous record.[5] She again collaborated with Les Chappell and also brought Judge Smith, who wrote two songs on the album. Flex was recorded at the Wisseloord Studios in Hilversum, Netherlands.

Composition[edit]

"I’m quite happy for people to read in many different stories to my music. It always interests me when people come up and say, 'I know what that song is about' and they tell me a new story that I haven’t ever heard of before. I feel very strongly in people exercising their own imaginations."

—Lene Lovich, about the meanings of her songs[5]

Described as Lovich's more introverted album, Flex deals with subjects that include more of emotional and mental activity, and are often inspired by dream images. The opening track "Bird Song" was written by Lovich and Les Chappell. When Lovich woke up in the night from a dream, she recorded different sounds on a tape recorder. The recording later served as an inspiration for the song, where at the beginning she mimics the sounds of birds. "What Will I Do Without You?" is a song written especially for the album by Judge Smith. Another song written by him appears on the album, "You Can't Kill Me", which he had already written in 1972. It deals with reincarnation. "Angels" is a song dedicated to people who like to live dangerously. Lovich spoke on people who do dangerous jobs and that they serve as an inspiration to other people. She also said, working in the music industry can be sometimes mentally damaging, but is also a good recreation. "The Night" is a cover of The Four Seasons' song. Lovich picked up the record in a second hand shop out of curiosity, since she had been interested in the band's music and later decided to record it for the album.

In "Egghead", Lovich sings about people constantly learning a lot of facts, but not understanding life and practical things. In "Wonderful One", she expresses her feelings about music and how blessed she feels being able to create it. "Monkey Talk" was allegedly inspired by two books, one by Charles Darwin and Planet of the Apes by Pierre Boulle. It points out the transience of success. Using the image of Joan of Arc, "Joan" speaks about the necessity of self-confidence to trust your own ideas.[5]

Track listings[edit]

Flex (1979)
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Bird Song"
4:27
2. "What Will I Do Without You?" 3:35
3. "Angels"
  • Lovich
  • Chappell
3:08
4. "The Night"
4:31
5. "You Can't Kill Me"
  • Smith
3:45
6. "Egghead"
  • Lovich
  • Chappell
2:26
7. "Wonderful One"
  • Lovich
  • Chappell
4:28
8. "Monkey Talk"
  • Lovich
  • Chappell
3:20
9. "Joan"
  • Lovich
  • Chappell
3:18
10. "The Freeze"
  • Lovich
  • Chappell
4:40
Total length: 37:38

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from the album's liner notes.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Flex at AllMusic. Retrieved December 18, 2011.
  2. ^ Starr, Red. "Albums". Smash Hits (January 24 – February 6, 1980): 21. 
  3. ^ a b "LENE LOVICH | Artist", Official Charts.
  4. ^ a b "Lene Lovich - Press material", Epic, October 29, 1982.
  5. ^ a b c Lene Lovich - Interview (Promotional LP). Greg Torrington. Epic / Stiff Records. January 1, 1980. CDN 26. 
  6. ^ Flex (LP). Lene Lovich. Stiff Records. 1979. SEEZ 19. 

External links[edit]