Doll Revolution, the Bangles’s first studio album since 1988’s Everything, kicks off with a colorful cover of Elvis Costello’s “Tear Off Your Own Head (It’s a Doll Revolution)” and “Stealing Rosemary,” a poetic tune that, according to guitarist Vicki Peterson, is about “the little crimes you commit for love.” The track, along with the glossy pop ballad “Something That You Said” and uptempo pop/rock ditties like “Ride the Ride,” are classic Bangles, reprising the band’s trademark vocal harmonies and ‘60s garage rock influences. Doll‘s threads quickly unravel, though: the string-laden “I Will Take Care of You” and the saccharine “Ask Me No Questions,” with its uninventive “I’m in love with you” hook, evoke the band’s pop peak “Eternal Flame.” The album’s worst moments come courtesy of Peterson, who was once the band’s strongest composer. The embarrassing “Single By Choice” could very well be an anthem for bitter, middle-aged women (“Alone but not lonely, I’ve made up my mind…Listen to the solitary voice”) while “Mixed Messages” is just plain banal. There’s no denying the Bangles’s knack for pop, but much of the album seems too middle-of-the-road for a band that always excelled at rocking out. Despite some finely-crafted moments, Doll is far from the revolution its title implies.
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