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During the decade of the 2000s, I penned many music reviews for my friend DJ Ron of Nashville and the site About.com. Warming you up for another original here on my blog this 2013 Fourth of July weekend, here is one of them from 2008 with proper respect and appreciation to the aforementioned people in this paragraph.

Once upon a time there was a musical that I never heard about called Damn Yankees which inspired Mark Tara to compose “Lola” as an homage. “The record Lola was actually going to be more of a spiritual record”, Mark explained to me, “Hence the bonus tracks “The Beginning”… (Which I think should have lead the album because its fantasy-driven lyrics really get your attention) “Then the style of the record totally changed and I fashioned it after Donna Summer’s classic album Once Upon a Time which tells a story.”

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Hmmm, I remember Damn Yankees, but it is just the start of spring training as I write this, and I never claimed to be all-encompassing, musically, anyway.

Along with the album is a two-song sampler disc which includes “Live Your Life”, the best of the duo, which is a message song for whomever and whatever battle or demon you are fighting along with another “Lola” reprise. But why do a separate CD when there is no discernible remix or difference from the album version? There are so many versions of “Lola” that it almost makes the theme hackneyed.

Mark told me, “I saw the movie Kinky Boots where the main character does the song “Whatever Lola Wants” which is from the musical Damn Yankees. As I was watching that scene a thought popped into my head that I could totally do that song in a dance vain and well.”

Figuring Out Who Lola Is

So let us see what we can glean about “Lola” (who I thought might be his latest love interest – NOT). It has taken me longer to get into, and I’m not sure I’m feeling this song from Tara as much as “Different Language,” his last track that I reviewed. However the single definitely has its musical moments. Track four, “Sexduction” where he uses the vocoder effect to perfection, is one of the album’s best. It has a great pace and should fit satellite radio’s dance format. The next jam, “Where You Live” is another boss musical toss! There is a very good remake of the Imagination dance club classic “Just An Illusion” on here – complete with the piano solo!

When I asked Mark who this “Lola” person on the cover is, he replied, “The pic is me taken by a photographer friend of mine. I wanted to tell a story of seduction and the emotions that go along with it, this seduction has to do with me – LOLA – being in lust with a straight man and how I cast my spell on him. Gender bending – I’m totally into that – blurring the lines between male and female and what we find to be sexually appealing.” A friend of Tara’s, Stor Dubine, did a cute caricature of him for the back cover CD art.

Maybe Lola is an AlterEgo?

Now we are getting a feel for who Mark Tara really is; I then thought that “Lola” might be his alter ego, but I was wrong again when he told me, “Its not an alterego, the picture is just me. The record tells a story and I think the most telling song is “Something” which encapsulates the record as a whole”

“Sometimes” is a whispery, introspective, mid-tempo piece with am edgey touch. The song is part of an almost middle-of-the-road trifecta here in the middle of the album that ends with a made for adult Contemporary radio track “Someone To Love” which sounds like an N-Sync record circa 1999.

Tara wants to be known as “The Queer Of Pop” just like Madonna is the “Queen of Pop” and Michael Jackson is the “King of Pop.” He clarifies, but by no means do I compare Mark to these two mega-artists – they are both legends in my eyes. (This review really has taken some interesting twist and turns, lol)

 

In the finial analysis, Tara is a masterful musical storyteller with a message. This album, like the previous one Different Love flows in movements like a symphony does. There is one more nuance to our musician as he relays, “Here in Canada gay marriages are now legal and have been for the past few years – YEAH! – Just think of growing up knowing that you are gay and that you can indeed get married to someone of the same sex – I think that totally rocks!”

Aren’t those the words with which we ended the review of “Different Love” last time? Therefore the terminus is nigh, and its time to abate words and urge you to listen for yourself happily ever after with a genial three stars bestowed.

Released November 2008 on MarkTaraMusic.

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