CD Review of Wisdom from the Pain by Lisa Coppola
Recommended if you like
Shania Twain, SheDaisy,
Reba McEntire
Label
Any Other Name Music Productions
Lisa Coppola:
Wisdom from the Pain

Reviewed by Jason Thompson

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J
erseyite Lisa Coppola has had one hell of a career. She’s sung backup for Billy Joel as well as Marshall Crenshaw. She’s opened for the Charlie Daniels Band and the Smothers Brothers. She created her own cabaret show, “Songs I Grew Up With.” She even had some big distribution deals over in Europe with her group Broad, and according to her own website, “became one of New York’s hottest live acts.” With all this wonderful stuff going on in Coppola’s musical life, you’d think she’d be tearing up the charts.

Alas, it is not so.

Instead, Coppola is a relative unknown as a solo artist (or even in Broad) outside the New York and New Jersey area. And so here she is on her second solo release, Wisdom from the Pain, a short collection of country-pop tunes that unfortunately may keep her from the big leagues even longer. The problem isn’t with Coppola’s abilities as a singer. It’s just that the material she has to work with here isn’t all that fantastic.

Anthony Krizan of the Spin Doctors helped pen all the tunes on this disc, and even his formerly professional chops couldn’t help the country cornball stew that Coppola finds herself sitting in here. The first tune, “When You Were Mine,” pretty much maps out the entire journey in its first 30 seconds. “Sweet 17 and summertime, drunk on elderberry wine / Laughin’ in the corn fields and takin’ our sweet time,” coos Lisa as steel guitars bleat out in the background against a softly produced beat (it almost sounds like the drums were covered with wet towels). Yeah, you know where this is heading. Hollow wannabe Nashville pop sprinkled with just enough of the phrase “sweet darlin’” to make it seem genuine.

“Temporary Heartache” is all bad-girl swagger and twang with such embarrassing clichés as “I left my lipstick on your collar / I’d be a rich girl if I had a dollar for every guy like you.” Coppola seems unsure of herself on this track, semi-stumbling against the dim-bulb lyrics and straining country pap of those yee-haw guitars exuding just enough southern drawl to make it oh so slightly cringe-worthy. Shania Twain did this ages ago, and without any of the corniness.

But if you want the bottom of the hoedown barrel, look no further than “Your Love Is Like a Rodeo,” a song so sappy and predictable that you just know everyone was holding their collective breaths on this travesty being some sort of a hit somewhere. Seriously, when it boils down to the basest country clichés to form your song, you’re better off just walking away and trying again another day. It makes Coppola’s music seem like nothing more than the Glamour Shots version of country pop: all pose and no real elegance.

Luckily, there are only two more tracks – the whining title cut and the weepy-yet-strong “Make This Moment (To Love Again).” Neither further Coppola’s case as a must-hear country artist, and both are triggers for that unnerving embarrassment one can often feel for strangers when they see them performing poorly for the masses. She may be hot stuff in the New York and New Jersey area, but Lisa Coppola has a long way to go before she finds any national recognition with tunes this corny.

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