Runaways have power as Britney seeks it

“The Runaways” from The Runaways, left, and "Circus” from Britney Spears.

Published: Thursday, April 1, 2010 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, March 31, 2010 at 12:57 p.m.

Bill Dean, entertainment editor of The Gainesville Sun, grew up listening to rock ’n’ roll, soul and country in the 1970s. Aurora Dominguez, of Hollywood, Fla. grew up listening to pop music in the 1990s. They are from different generations, but they are both music lovers with an open mind. Each week, they swap CDs in hopes of broadening their musical horizons.

This week, Aurora listens to...

“The Runaways” from The Runaways (1976)

AURORA: Bill, this is some serious “grrrl” rock that you gave me to listen to! As soon as I heard the album I was instinctively rocking out to the music, taken aback by how crunchy the guitar riffs are and how fresh the music sounds years later. Could we call this a super-power group? It seems to me like it was. With members such as Joan Jett, you knew we were in for something good.

BILL: With the bio-pic on the group (“The Runaways”) being released to theaters, it’s a good time to check out the album that introduced the band, which included Joan Jett and Lita Ford among others, to the world.

AURORA: Some of my favorite tunes included “Cherry Bomb” and “You Drive Me Wild.” These girls might’ve been young, but they had rock ’n’ roll in their blood. Their cover of the tune “Rock & Roll,” originally by the Velvet Underground, proves it.

BILL: Unfortunately, their notorious manager, Kim Fowley, positioned the teenaged-girl group as a sort of “jailbait rock fantasy,” and so many in the industry didn’t take The Runaways seriously at the time. But they deserved airplay and attention.

AURORA: Thanks for having me listen to this, Bill. It’ll definitely be a part of my musical rotation. I loved it! Simply loved it.

This week, Bill listens to...

“CIRCUS”from Britney Spears (2008)

BILL: Hey Aurora, funny how you said you were “being mean” when you gave me Britney’s latest album to listen to. I’ve never been a fan of Britney’s cicada-on-acid vocals, but the album does mark her climb out of the hole she fell into after being divorced, institutionalized and losing custody of her kids.

AURORA: This album was a definite wake-up call for the pop-tart after a time of shattered dreams. I was happy to see her pick herself up.

BILL: At the beginning of “Kill The Lights,” a no-holds-barred, dance-floor killer, she utters “I think I’m ready for my close-up,” and whether that was a conscious nod to Gloria Swanson’s line in “Sunset Boulevard” or not, it does strap you in for the rest of the ride. The song does what it’s supposed to do, and so does “Out From Under,” in which she sings a wistful ballad about lost love but does so like she’s singing about the downward spiral of her life. It’s truly moving.

AURORA: You picked two of my favorites there. That ballad is lovely and kills me every time. Although some songs were forgettable, this one really seems to tell a huge part of her life story.

BILL: Though the other songs include “MMM Papi,” which was, ummm, pablum, and “If U Seek Amy,” which I’d rather not, I’ll give her credit for getting up and getting back in the game. After all, when it comes to the current crop of young female singers, she helped to create it.

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