Lisa Germano | Review
Rolling Stone | Lorraine Ali
What is Victoria's secret?1996
Excerpts from a Love Circus
Lisa Germano makes music so beautifully tragic and depressing that it seems nearly fatal. When Germano – a former backing violinist for John Mellencamp and Bob Seger – became a solo artist, it wasn't the weepy moan of her instrument that touched a universal nerve but the resigned cadence in her voice and her self-deprecating lyrics. She represented all those girls who used to hear, "Hey, smile, it's not that bad," and instead of answering with a hearty "fuck you," just cracked a half-assed grin and swallowed hard.
On her fourth and best solo album, Germano deadpans lines like "Coffee in the morning, wine in the evening/And everything else is boring, boring, boring" and accents her songs with comically lifeless exclamations like "yeah, yeah" or "hey, hey." She mixes that dry humor with self-loathing in the fragile "Victoria's Secret": "What is Victoria 's secret?/She says you are ugly, and I am pretty/Your man wishes you looked like me." There is a surreal quality to the music – accordion, violin, the meowing of her cats – that is enhanced by the woozy, underwater feel of the production, washing the album in a depressive mysticism. Excerpts gets suffocatingly scary, too. In "Lovesick," her voice drops to an eerily flat, detached tone against a sitar and drum machine as she recites, "'You're not my Yoko Ono.' You said those words to me. You need some inspiration, is that why you hit me?"
Germano is not as surly as Liz Phair or as satisfyingly retributional as Courtney Love. But she communicates on another, equally personal level where sheer despair highlights the magnificent feat of survival