Record Review: Cristina – Sleep It Off

Ze Records | EUR | CD | 2004 | ZEREC.CD12

Ze Records | EUR | CD | 2004 | ZEREC.CD12

Cristina: Sleep It Off Euro CD [2004]

  1. What’s A Girl To Do
  2. Ticket To The Tropics
  3. The Lie Of Love
  4. Quicksand Lovers
  5. Rage & Fascination
  6. Ballad Of Immortal Earnings
  7. She Can’t Say That Anymore
  8. Blue Money
  9. Don’t Mutilate My Mink
  10. He Dines Out On Death
  11. Smile
  12. Deb Behind Bars
  13. Things Fall Apart
  14. When U Were Mine
  15. Deb Behind Bars [Alternate Version]
  16. You Rented A Space

Having been primed for Cristina-worship after hearing her brilliant “Things Fall Apart” from the Ze Christmas Album, I waited several years before the NYC chanteuse made her next move. The switch from Kid Creole to a then-unknown Don Was was a keeper after that fantastic single, thankfully. I became alerted to the existence of the second album after viewing a video on MTV for the new single “Ticket To The Tropics” one of the four times that they probably played it! I was on that platter as soon as it made the record store scene. I was gifted with ten songs of incredible venom and verve utterly magnificent in their thematic coherence.

The album posited a world where nihilistic socialites hobnobbed with rent boys who weren’t too sure about their sexual orientation but ultimately followed the money. A world where everyone was either a pimp or a prostitute and what passed for grace in this fallen world depended on merely being aware of which side of the line you found yourself standing on. It was a potent cocktail of rock disco, Brecht, social climbing, and backbiting graced with lyrics as though Raymond Chandler had suddenly decided to write for Bette Davis fronting Was [Not Was]. In short, it’s an awe-inspiring album by a team of steely-eyed, flat-bodied professionals coalesced around the singular talent of Ms. Cristina Monet.

Sure, sure. So she was the blue-blooded trophy wife of Michael Zilkha, the heir to the Mothercare fortune and owner/arch-dilletante of the brilliant and eclectic Ze Records label. Did she have strings pulled for her? Perhaps. But I can’t knock success such as this album! I won’t begrudge breeding, influence, and status when it results in art of this crackling potency! Of the ten songs on the original LP, seven of them were writ by the hand of Cristina working in tandem with songwriters responsible for the likes of albums by Was [Not Was] and Marianne Faithfull. As great as the music is, it’s Ms. Monet’s lyrics and delivery that push this album into singular territory. Even the three cover tunes here are chosen with laser accuracy ensuring that the thematic whole of the album is in perfect balance.

I’ve written earlier about the opener “What’s A Girl To Do?” but words hardly give justice to the achievement that it represents. The music itself is a lurching funk/zydeco hybrid with its jaunty bounce at odds with the bracing lyrics and spitfire delivery of Cristina herself. Like the very best music, it creates a new world that you might not want to live in, but the glimpses you catch of it in glances prove to be so riveting and fascinating, that you can’t turn away. That the music sounds like the cheerful mutant offspring of Rockin’ Sidney and Compass Point-era Grace Jones doesn’t hurt.

The one single from the album was “Ticket To The Tropics.” It’s what passed for light entertainment in Cristina’s world as she upbraided a gigolo who came close to taking her for a ride, but hadn’t known that he’d more than met his steely-eyed match in her. The urgent, New Wave bounce of this number was the closest to happiness that this album ever sounded since its stock-in-trade was emotional sturm und drang with music to match.

Next: …to be continued

About postpunkmonk

graphic design | software UI design | remastering vinyl • record collector • satire • non-fiction
This entry was posted in Core Collection, Deadpan Women, Record Review and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Record Review: Cristina – Sleep It Off

  1. Echorich says:

    Music that will kiss you, cut you, and then walk over you on it’s way into a seedy downtown nightclub…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Cristina Monet Zilkha’s Legacy Served Well With New CD Remaster Of “Sleep It Off” And Biographical Book/Website | Post-Punk Monk

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