Sunday, September 19, 2010

Belinda Carlisle

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Carlisle, Belinda. Lips Unsealed: A Memoir. New York: Crown, 2010.

Like many teenage girls in the early 80's, I adored The Go-Go's and tried to dress like them. As they were the first all-female band to top the Billboard charts and earn a double-platinum album, they were certainly worthy of our admiration. The Go-Go's played their own instruments, wrote their own songs, and had a female manager.

Back then, there weren't all that many female musicians to look up to. I didn't like Pat Benatar's songs or her style. I hadn't yet developed a taste for Kate Bush's operatic voice, and I didn't like Stevie Nicks because I thought her Fleetwood Mac bandmate Christine McVie* was more deserving of stardom. I tried to sing like Chrissie Hynde, but I didn't have the figure to dress like her. I loved Blondie and Bow Wow Wow's music, but their female lead singers were a bit too beautiful.

The Go-Go's were just right. Even a chubby girl like me could dress like a Go-Go!

Belinda Carlisle's memoir Lips Unsealed is titled after the Go-Go's hit song Our Lips Are Sealed. The first half of the book is lots of fun. She writes about touring with Madness, kissing Jim Hutchence, partying with John Belushi, and getting drunk with Tim Finn from Split Enz.

Like her solo career, the second half of Belinda Carlisle's memoir isn't very exciting at all. It's mostly a confessional about her escalating addiction to cocaine. She is so brutally honest, that she comes across as being unlikeable. She admits to feeling undeserving of her fame, and in doing so, she makes the reader agree with her.

*Christine McVie takes the lead in this Fleetwood Mac performance: