The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

20 June 2005

Gore victorious

Lesley Gore never stopped singing, but she's kept a low recording profile since her last studio album back in 1976. In the interim, two of her compositions made it into worthy motion pictures: "Out Here on My Own," a collaboration with younger brother Michael for 1980's Fame, was nominated for an Academy Award, and "My Secret Love," from the soundtrack of 1996's Grace of My Heart, was seen by some as a bid to open a closet door.

Ever Since, recorded for Blake Morgan's Engine Company label with Morgan himself on piano and labelmate Mike Errico on guitar, sounds like nothing else in the Gore store; there's just the right balance of wistful and world-weary, and the spare accompaniment provides her with plenty of breathing room.

There are two real surprises here. "We Went So High," written by Lesley with Ellen Weston, perhaps a forgotten song from the 1970s — Gore and Weston were regularly writing together in those days — is deceptively simple in its geometry and quietly heartbreaking in its finality. And "You Don't Own Me," recast as a torch song, is darker and more emphatic than you remember it being four decades ago.

Obviously this isn't girl-group stuff. Then again, "Not the First," a new Gore composition, could have fit in nicely alongside "California Nights" and her other later Mercury waxings: Lesley hasn't forgotten where she came from. And more important, she knows she's still going somewhere. That sense of direction infuses every one of these ten tracks, and it makes Ever Since more than just another teen-idol "comeback" album — because you end up wishing you'd been along for the ride.

Posted at 8:20 PM to Tongue and Groove

"You Don't Own Me," for my money, really is one of the great underrated songs of the '60s.

Posted by: Chase at 7:14 AM on 21 June 2005