Lene Lovich: The Freeze
I was in college when Lene Lovich’s album Flex came out. In fact, I was just getting started as a music reviewer for the college newspaper. And Flex was one of my first assignments. As the most junior reviewer on the paper, I’m sure looking back at it that I got the stuff nobody else wanted. If anyone at the paper knew her music at all, they knew Lene Lovich from her club hit from her previous outing, Lucky Number. So they knew that she was prone to explosions of odd noises from her throat; she was, vocally, a disciple of Yoko Ono.
But Flex contains the song The Freeze. Here is one of Lovich’s calmest and most controlled vocal performances. The song is a march. In my mind as I hear it, I see a long line of men and women marching up a path to the entrance of a cavern that has been built in the side of a mountain. There is a crowd gathered to see them go; “the lucky ones are waving us goodbye.” The cavern, as I see it, contains a large number of cryogenic chambers; the marchers are going away to be frozen. I have never figured out why this is being done. Lovich is interested in capturing the moment, not explaining it. You can feel a chill wind blowing through her performance. The unanswered questions posed here add to the sense of mystery. As much as I enjoy songs with powerful imagery, I have never found another example that planted such a strong image in my mind.