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Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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Review - Lips Unsealed by Belinda Carlisle
Thursday, June 09, 2011

Whenever I pick up a memoir that’s by a musician my hope is that it gives some insight into the particular scene they’re from that no regular person would have. Belinda Carlisle’s memoir, Lips Unsealed, gives a little bit of that, but really left me wanting more.

The Go-Go’s have an important place in music history, and Carlisle, their lead singer, led a wild life before, during and after the group. I can understand why a recovered drug addict wouldn't want to get too deep into the stories of her past, but I would have really loved some more in-depth descriptions of the parties she went to, concerts she attended, and houses she crashed at. When she writes about who was hitting on her I want to know everything else that was going on. When she talks about all the concerts she went to I want a total feel for the scene. Lips Unsealed drew me in when it came to this, but left me feeling like I didn’t get the full story.

Lips Unsealed is also a tale of three Belindas. There’s the young, raucous, Belinda that partied her ass off. There’s the newlywed, but in complete denial about her addictions, Belinda. Then there’s recovered, clean, Belinda. As far as rock star tales go, it’s amazing she didn’t die. That being said, I wish the details she had regarding her time in France, and when she learned Yoga, would have been just as vivid when it came to her wild youth. Perhaps the drugs blurred a lot of memories.

One interesting note I took away from Lips Unsealed, which is written in an easy to read conversational tone, is that Carlisle read seemingly all of the reviews of her work, and still had them on hand to quote. Throughout the book she continues to mention the critical reception given to her performances and albums. Another interesting aspect of the book is her frankness about the music industry. Although payola isn’t a secret to anyone, I was a little surprised by how forthright she was about it when it came to having to do a million dollars worth of promotional work (i.e. radio interviews, etc.) because the label didn’t have the million dollars to spend to get the record played.

Overall, Lips Unsealed is a good retrospective of the life of the Go-Go’s lead singer, but if you’re looking for some added insight into the punk scene you’re not going to find much here. There are a few really fun stories, including one especially crazy one involving Rod Stewart, but it feels like Carlisle only scratches the surface most of the time.

Enjoyability: 3 out of 5

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