Queens of Noise
Pound for pound, Queens of Noise is more consistently fierce than the band’s debut. The influence of punk is stronger here, spurred on by Joan Jett. The guitar sounds are positively feral, and songs like “I Love Playin’ With Fire” barrel down the listen with relentless, gleeful anger. The ferocious “Neon Angels On the Road To Ruin” might be Curie’s finest performance as a vocalist, while “California Paradise” and “Hollywood” are gloriously malevolent tributes to the band’s home turf. Even as the group perfected its patented form of garage rock, producer Kim Fowley had them trying out new sounds. The power ballads “Midnight Music” and “Heart Beat” are unacknowledged precursors to the hair metal sound that would come to dominate Los Angeles in the ‘80s. But the real left-of-center gem is “Born to Be Bad,” a twisted, intoxicated blues workout heated by Curie’s spoken interlude and Lita Ford’s guitar work, a exhibit of electricity that crossbreeds Ron Asheton and Ace Frehley. Written in the moments just before the original lineup dissolved, the title track (written by the Quick’s Billy Bizeau) now appears to summarize everything for which the early Runaways stood.