Reviewed by Greg Beets, Fri., Oct. 22, 2004
Ron FlyntL.A. Story (Zip) Whether the setting is a dorm room, a barrack, or a nightclub, the path from youth to adulthood is ripe for mythology. But it takes a deft narrator with a compelling story to make such waxings relevant beyond personal circles. Transplanted Austinite Ron Flynt fits the bill on both counts. After moving to California in the mid-Seventies, the Oklahoma-bred Flynt achieved fleeting major label success with 20/20, who made new wave-flavored pop nuggets like "Yellow Pills" before getting dropped and breaking up. L.A. Story is a song cycle about the people, places, and events in Flynt's life at that time. The album begins with a faraway Beach Boys-style snippet of flanged harmony that serves as a time machine. "Hollywood Life" provides a bop-worthy portrait of the struggle for recognition, while "Mary's World" is a sprightly pop tune about falling into a dysfunctional relationship you know can only end badly. "Misery at the End" chronicles the heartbreak and resignation that comes with your best friend quitting the band. The hard knocks finally culminate in "Home in a While," in which the false promise of fame is jettisoned for more reliable means of emotional sustenance. Whether he's singing about the highs or the lows, Flynt foregoes gee-whiz rock star details, characterizing his experience in more universal themes of trial and redemption. As a result, L.A. Story is a joyfully accessible pop novella you can relate to even if your coming of age didn't involve an appearance on American Bandstand.