2:27pm

Tue May 15, 2012
Music Reviews

Lisa Marie Presley: Rock's Princess Finds Her Voice

Originally published on Mon May 21, 2012 7:21 pm

Lisa Marie Presley is a curiosity. Famous from birth, she is rock's only real princess. Her face is a stunning combination of her parents' best features. Her marriages have been, well, unusual. Who could forget her awkward television kiss with then-husband Michael Jackson? Or the few months of wedded bliss to actor and Elvis fanatic Nicolas Cage? She has led a colorful life — one that overshadowed her music career when she started making records in 2003. But on her new album, Storm and Grace, she has found her voice.

With help from producer T-Bone Burnett, Lisa Marie Presley has finally settled into a comfortable groove as an artist. Gone are the oversized production values and the elevated vocal style of her prior work in favor of a more natural approach. Burnett specializes in creating atmospheric Americana; moody soundscapes driven by big, resonant bass lines. It's a unique sonic stamp, and part of his skill as a producer lies in finding projects that wear it well. It's the kind of backdrop for which Presley's voice cries out.

Ironically, Lisa Marie Presley moved to England and worked with members of Britpop groups such as Pulp and Travis for Storm and Grace, yet it brought her closer to her roots. It's almost impossible to hear the name Presley and not think of Elvis, and that's a burden that his only child must bear. But Lisa Marie has a tongue-and-cheek message in the form of "Sticks and Stones," aimed at anyone who would trade places with her for her famous name.

Lisa Marie Presley says she was in a disheartened state when she started writing these songs. Now in her mid-40s, she has already outlived her legendary father and experienced plenty of heartbreak, some of which she's poured into this album. But while her voice takes an occasional melancholy turn, the overall message is hopeful. Storm and Grace seems to have brought her back to life.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Lisa Marie Presley is the only child of Elvis Presley. While she's never achieved the same level of success, she's made her own way in the family business. For her third album, "Storm and Grace," she worked with noted producer T-Bone Burnett. Our reviewer Meredith Ochs calls it a harmonious union.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MEREDITH OCHS, BYLINE: Lisa Marie Presley is a curiosity. Famous from birth, she's rock's only real princess. Her face is a stunning combination of her parents' best features. Her marriages have been, well, unusual. Who could forget her awkward television kiss with then-husband Michael Jackson? Or her few months of wedded bliss to actor and Elvis fanatic Nicholas Cage? She's led a colorful life, one that often overshadowed her music career when she started making records in 2003. But on her new album, she's found her voice.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "OVER ME")

LISA MARIE PRESLEY: (Singing) Can it be you're over me? She took my place. She saved the day. Others see you're over me. When she took my place, she saved the day.

OCHS: With help from producer T Bone Burnett, Lisa Marie Presley has finally settled into a comfortable groove as an artist. Gone are the oversized production values and elevated vocal style of her prior work in favor of a more natural approach. Burnett specializes in creating atmospheric Americana, moody soundscapes driven by big resonant bass lines. It's a unique sonic stamp, and part of his skill as a producer is finding projects that it brings out the best in. It's the kind of backdrop for which Presley's voice cries out.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "STORM & GRACE")

PRESLEY: (Singing) You are the most beautiful man that I've ever known, too much to offer and too much held close to the bone.

OCHS: Lisa Marie Presley worked with members of Britpop groups such as Pulp and Travis for this album, yet it brought her closer to her roots. It's almost impossible to hear the name Presley and not think of Elvis, and that's a burden his only child must bear. But Lisa Marie has a tongue-in-cheek message in the form of this song called "Sticks & Stones," aimed at anyone who would trade places with her for her famous name.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "STICK & STONES")

PRESLEY: (Singing) You can take my place. You'd do it better anyway, ooh, but you better hide your bones from all the sticks and stones so they don't break.

OCHS: Lisa Marie Presley says she was in a disheartened state when she started writing these songs. Now, in her mid-40s, she's already outlived her legendary father and experienced plenty of heartbreak, some of which she's poured into this album. But while her voice takes an occasional melancholy turn, the overall message is hopeful. And here, she hints that she's only just begun.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "YOU AIN'T SEEN NOTHING YET")

CORNISH: The new album from Lisa Marie Presley is called "Storm & Grace." Our reviewer, Meredith Ochs, is a talk show host and DJ for SiriusXM Radio.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "YOU AIN'T SEEN NOTHING YET")

PRESLEY: (Singing) Lay down the law, don't make a sound, just critical, just going down. I don't belong. I've lost the plot, not gullible.

CORNISH: You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.

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