Cris Williamson

Strange Paradise

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Cris Williamson had quite a task trying to follow up 1975's The Changer and the Changed, the best-selling album in the history of women's music. Strange Paradise came long enough after that to be an independent statement. Unlike some of her peers, Williamson was not much interested in explicit lyrical statements of feminism and lesbianism, and she was at least as interested in the music as she was in the lyrics. So, the songs on Strange Paradise brought in rock & roll and reggae elements, and, working with co-producers June Millington and Jackie Robbins, Williamson constructed pop arrangements that relied heavily on synthesizers, which gave the album a contemporary sound for its day (and made it sound somewhat dated later). The eerie keyboard sounds could add atmosphere, notably on the lead-off title track. And if Williamson's lyrics were not directly political, they could be personal and empowering, giving her, at least potentially, an audience beyond the core listenership of the women's music flagship label Olivia Records. (The album was later reissued on Williamson's own Wolf Moon imprint.)

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