always outmuscled and outsexed her frillier, chilled-out
contemporaries in the late '80s. Even if Debbie
Gibson became the one who posed for Playboy,
Dayne was the one reeking of carnal hunger in militant
love anthems like "Tell it to My Heart" and
"Don't Rush Me." She both invigorated
and sort of scared you -- you know, like the
But 20 years
later, the onetime caterwauler faces a conundrum: What now?
Other than buy a flatiron, the correct answer is to release
Satisfied, a textbook case of edgy-girl-gone-grownup
and a fitting shelf companion to recent parlor-room
bubblies from Carly Simon or Celine Dion.
Yikes. But not
everything on Satisfied is watered down.
Dayne's heyday has long passed, but she remains somewhat of
an anomaly--a pop star who conjures that Lita Ford
feistiness while ranking as a solid, bellowing
balladeer. On Satisfied, she works best when
her ballads and balls collide. First single
"Beautiful" does the trick, with its
ladies-night bounce and clap-happy chorus. Maybe its
mega-positive vibe isn't everyone's taste--she
does demand, "So give me whatcha got/
'Cause you've got a
lot"--but ultimately it's catchy.
That's usually the bottom line with first
bopping blast from "I'm Over My Head,"
a Maroon 5 dead-ringer if I ever heard one, Dayne
starts the gradual, predictable slide into slower
stuff. But on the way down, the album reveals an
unexpected find: the almost bizarre but actually
well-executed cover of the Red Hot Chili
Peppers' "Under the Bridge." In its
original version, "Under the Bridge"
reflected on addiction and rejoiced in recovery. When
Dayne spins it, there's an equal amount of
reflection, but the regret stings more, even if a
jangling piano serves as accompaniment. Weirdly
enough, it's all a perfect fit for Dayne.
difficult to say the same regarding the album's
latter half, which teems with drippier numbers like
"Kissing You," featuring slow-jam drums
and cooing backup singers. Officially, Dayne is renowned as
a bit of a torch singer (she had the number one
"Love Will Lead You Back"), but wavering
full-on into Celine territory without the counterbalance of
some brass just doesn't work for her. Her
unmistakable identity fades into a lull. Is that
really Taylor Dayne on the lovin'-life anthem
"Love Chain" grudging us with lyrics
like "I watch the windows as the rain falls into
teardrops"? The lyric points at the persisting
problem late in the album: Dayne values her command
too little and cliches too much.
Satisfied isfine for Taylor devotees,
and nonfans can dig the obvious single material, but
the album's concept of merry contentment
propels the singer nowhere intriguing. As if the title
Satisfied didn't immediately sound like an
announcement of tired old maturity, the majority of the
disc's tracks cement that sentiment. Call me a
child of I Love the '80s-but I
think our formerly superpermed friend has a lot more
in her than this.
Satisfied will be released February 5.