Lopes, Lisa ‘Left Eye’ : Supernova

Lopes, Lisa 'Left Eye' : Supernova

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TLC rapper in long-promised solo debut

Lisa ‘Left Eye’ Lopes put the ‘mad’ into madam. Most of the drama that’s

dogged the career of trailblazing R&B trio TLC emanates from her third of

the group. It’s unlikely that Left Eye will ever match the kerfuffle she caused when

arrested for burning down the house of her boyfriend, NFL star Andre Rison.

But she’s not been doing too badly in the last 18 months.

She went missing last year only to turn up soon after the police had been

informed, appearing unannounced on a television show. She also failed to

show up at the wedding of TLC‘s T-Boz, sparking split rumours (they’re

reconciled and recording again now). Even her own wedding – to, yes, Andre

Rison – was postponed at the last minute when Left Eye decided she was ‘too

busy’.

So it’s unsurprising that few held their breath when Lopes declared several

years ago that her debut solo album was imminent. This spring she said that

whatever happened it would be out on August 16, the same day that her

grandfather was born and her father died. August 16 came and went, but now

in late October 2001 ‘Supernova’ finally hits the racks.

After a build up like that, it’s no surprise that ‘Supernova’ is a

disappointment. It seldom hits the dizzy heights of TLC‘s last album, ‘Fan

Mail’, but there are enough flashes of brilliance amongst the one-paced

fillers (skip ‘Jenny’, ‘I Believe In Me’ – oh really? – ‘True Confessions’,

‘The Universal Quest’) to reiterate how crucial Lopes’ chunky raps are to the
TLC sound.

Chief among the highlights is the opening trio of songs: the stoned groove

of ‘Life Is Like A Park’, the Rockwilder-produced hip pop of ‘Hot!’, and the

fantastic single, ‘The Block Party’, a trippy party anthem that could be set

in a ghetto Sesame Street. The other stand-out moments incorporate two of

the strangest guest spots anyone could hope for. On ‘Rags To Riches’, Lopes

wheels on fiancé and footballer Rison for a surprisingly deft rap, and

‘Untouchable’ features a duet with the male rapper whose style most

resembles Left Eye’s: the late Tupac Shakur. Death doesn’t harm a terrific

cameo.

‘Supernova’ just about justifies its existence, if not its long gestation.

Above all, it whets the appetite for the next TLC album, forecast for late November. That date, though, is fluid.

Ted Kessler