Friday, April 29, 2011

Tuscadero: "The Pink Album" (1994) CD Review

Tuscadero's first album contains lots of wonderful childhood pop references, cool vocals, fun guitar riffs and a love song to Leather Tuscadero.

How can someone not love this band? First off, they named themselves after a couple of characters from the television series Happy Days: Pinkie and Leather Tuscadero. This album is called The Pink Album, after the first, and there is a song about the second, titled "Leather Idol."

This band is totally cool. It's alternative pop-rock teen-punk joy. The band is two girls, two guys, a lot of cool riffs and some fun lyrics.

"Heat Lightnin'"

The album opens with "Heat Lightin'." Struck by heat lightning? Okay, sure. It's easy to accept after the lines, "Quick as a flash, the light can ride you/Like having a motorcycle stuck inside you."

"Candy Song" and "Game Song"

"Candy Song" lists a lot of the classic candies, such as Almond Joy, Necco Wafers and Tootsie Rolls, comparing them to the singer's new love. She sings, "I like taking candy from you, my baby."

From a song called "Candy Song" that lists candies, the band goes to a song called "Game Song" that lists a lot of classic games like Mousetrap, Monopoly, Go Fish, Old Maid, Clue and Life, and relates them to a relationship.

Here's a bit of the lyrics: "The 8 Ball said, 'The reply is hazy'/But I know that you will drive my crazy/And when I tried to give you the slip/You said 'C4' and sunk my Battleship." This is the kind of playful lyrics that the band is so good at writing.

"Latex Dominatrix"
With a title like "Latex Dominatrix," the song would have to be fun, right? Well, it doesn't disappoint. But it does have serious overtones. The lyrics include, "They pay her, obey her and try to lay her/And pray someday to rise above her/To her, there's nothing to it/Just get on all fours and do it." The song celebrates the power of a dominatrix, but it is also about the distance a dominatrix feels from her work, from her clients, and thus from sex itself.

"Just My Size"

This song rocks. It's fun, it's loud, and at 1:53 it's over way too soon. The vocals sound amazing in all their distorted glory.

"Dime A Dozen"
This is a fun little pop song, one of the best on the album. It's a totally catchy song, replete with a punk drumbeat and pop handclaps. And sure, "You know your daddy must have married his first cousin/And guys like you are a dime a dozen."

"Mt. Pleasant"

This is another of the best songs on the album. It's just so bloody cool, with catchy riffs and then the chorus, which is nearly screamed, about how they wouldn't leave Mt. Pleasant even if they could. The vocals are awesome on this one, as they sing, "All liquor and lace/Drunk guys in your face/Broken 40s in the street/Losing lottery tickets at your feet."

"Nancy Drew"

This is an excellent song about a woman whose parents have thrown out all of her childhood possessions. It starts with a great bass line. And the lyrics are cool: "You threw out my Nancy Drew books/My model horses from Massachusetts/All my Barbies and all my Kens/My stuffed animals, my childhood friends." And she sings about the way that makes her feel now as an adult: "How do I get along without them?/I feel so unsteady/Oh Nancy, I miss you already."

"Leather Idol"

Oh yes, a love song to Leather Tuscadero, a minor character from the television series Happy Days. This song is wonderful. The guitar line is fantastic and fun. It starts off, "Forgive me if I worship vinyl idols/False idols with gleaming pleather sheen/But it's only for want of my Leather/Tuscadero, you'll always be my queen." And of course, "When I'm at your feet it's Happy Days."

The song breaks for a moment in the middle as they sing, "Your name was once Suzi Quatro/ 'til you changed your identity/Now it's Leather and so much the better." Suzi Quatro of course put out several records of her own.


For an album full of pop references from childhood, it's no surprise that it concludes with a song called "Crayola." This song is totally catchy, with pretty pop vocals. "I sent a letter, don't forget it/I drew a picture, I hope you get it/And that you're rested/And unmolested." And then it kicks in, with a furious guitar.

CD Track List

  1. Heat Lightnin'
  2. Candy Song
  3. Game Song
  4. Latex Dominatrix
  5. Just My Size
  6. Dime A Dozen
  7. Lovesick
  8. Mt. Pleasant
  9. Nancy Drew
  10. Hollywood Handsome
  11. Leather Idol
  12. Crayola

The Pink Album was released on Teen Beat, and then later re-issued by Elektra. Tuscadero formed in 1993. They joined Teen Beat the night of their very first concert performance. They put out several singles and a few albums, and then broke up in 1999. Tuscadero is Melissa Farris on vocals and guitar, Margaret McCartney on vocals and guitar, Phil Satlof on bass and screams, and Jack Hornady on drums.

1 comment:

  1. Check out a podcast review of The Pink Album by Tuscadero on Dig Me Out at, a weekly podcast dedicated to reviewing lost and forgotten albums from the 1990s.