Lene Lovich Toy Box – The Stiff Years 1978-1983 4CD Box Set – Review

Lene Lovich’s “Toy Box – The Stiff Years 1978-1983”: A Comprehensive 4CD Box Set
In the late 70s and early 80s, Lene Lovich emerged as a distinctive voice on the music scene, blending punk’s raw energy with an art-pop eccentricity that was all her own. Her partnership with Stiff Records, a label known for its eclectic roster, produced some of the most memorable tracks of the era. Now, Cherry Red Records has encapsulated this golden period in a meticulously curated 4CD box set titled “Toy Box – The Stiff Years 1978-1983,” offering a deep dive into Lovich’s innovative work during these formative years.

“Toy Box” is a collection and historical document that captures the essence of Lovich’s creativity and her significant contribution to the music landscape. With 81 tracks, including over 20 making their CD debut, this set is fabulous for fans and newcomers alike. From the iconic “Lucky Number” to the slightly weird “Bird Song,” every piece of Lovich’s Stiff Records legacy has been freshly mastered for this release.

The box set’s presentation is as thoughtful as its content. Housed in a luxurious, smooth-feeling box, the CDs are presented in sleeves, replicating the original album artwork. A detailed booklet, featuring contributions from Lovich herself, provides a rich backstory to the music, offering insights into the creation of each album and single. The essay, penned in August 2023, delves into Lovich’s journey with Stiff Records, from her initial breakthrough to her eventual departure from the label amidst pressures to replicate her early success.

The inclusion of B-sides, early versions, and extended 12-inch mixes ensures that even the most dedicated fans will discover something new within this collection.

Lene Lovich’s time with Stiff Records was a period of prolific creativity and experimentation. As one of the label’s most iconic artists, her work has left an indelible mark on the music world. “Toy Box – The Stiff Years 1978-1983” is a fitting tribute to her legacy, offering a comprehensive overview of her contributions to the punk and new wave movements. Whether you’re a long-time fan or exploring Lovich’s music for the first time, this box set will make an excellent addition to your collection, celebrating the enduring appeal of an artist who refused to be pigeonholed.

Phil Aston | Now Spinning Magazine

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