Music Review: Linda Ronstadt’s ‘Mad Love’ Flirts with New Wave

Linda Ronstadt's Mad Love LP

Though the jacket art and a couple of Blondie-esque vocals on the new Mad Love scream “new wave,” Linda Ronstadt hasn’t so much latched onto that trend as been influenced by it. True, this album eschews her usual lush arrangements and preponderance of overdubbing and ballads and constitutes her toughest, most live-sounding entry to date. While the program includes quite a bit of material that could be labeled “new wave,” however, it also offers top 40 tunes from the 60s and Neil Young’s “Look Out for My Love.”

The quality is as varied as the menu: “I Can’t Let Go” and “Hurt So Bad” are rather perfunctory, for example, but the trio of Elvis Costello covers fascinate, and the relentless “How Do I Make You” boasts enough energy to rouse the dead.

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