JOHNNY LIMA – Made In California

JOHNNY LIMA - Made In California


Frontiers Records
Release date: 2003

User Review
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There’s not too many things more “American” than a big ole’ muscle car from the 1950s with flames painted on the side. That’s the cover art on Johnny Lima’s newest release, Made In California. And if it’s Bon Jovi-type pop rock you like, American style, this one’s for you.

The album leads off with the title track. It has a “dirtier” sound than most of the album à la Love/Hate (sans the references to drinkin’ and smokin’ the grass), although “Another Girl” also has an edge to it. It’s unclear in the song whether Lima’s looking for a girl who espouses the bleached-blond, surgically-enhanced California girl stereotype, or if he’s seeking a woman who was actually conceived in the Golden State. Not wanting to think of the idea of the literal making of a future paramour, I’ll guess Lima was thinking of the former. But the mystery on whether he finds what he’s looking for is solved with Lima singing in the chorus that he’s “giving it to a girl who’s made in California”. His standards do seem a little low, though: “I don’t wanna woman that’ll make me hurl”. Although it’s not a common trait folks look to avoid when seeking a partner, a person who will not induce vomiting is at least a healthy start on the road to a love connection.

Most of the rest of the songs sound like Bon Jovi in the late ’80s-early ’90s. “Best Night of My Life”, “The Chosen One”, “Go On, Go Away”, “We’ve Got Tonight”, “Love Ain’t Enough”, “Something About You”, “Where Are You Now”, and “Welcome To My Paradise” have many characteristics of the Jersey band’s sound with a lot of backing vocals and keyboards. Throughout the record, Lima even has many of the same vocal inflections Jon Bon had/has. The songs also capture a catchy pop-rock sensibility that’s pretty fun.

“Another Girl” is a lament to a woman who is untouchable because she’s in love with another girl. It’s hard enough with all the other men out there, but to compete for a woman’s affections with other women as well … In any event, it’s a fun song, too.

The only low point on the record is a cover of the Beatles’ “Help”. It actually has a decent guitar riff, but it doesn’t really fit here. You’re asking for trouble (and unfair comparisons) right out of the box when you cover a Beatles song. It’s ambitious, but I wish Lima wouldn’t have put it on the album.

Made In California has a fun, poppy feel to it that most rock fans will enjoy. Just don’t think too much about the nature vs. nurture argument implied by the title track. God knows I have. And I’m really not a better person for it.


  • Ross Swinton

    Ross was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio. His first recollection of listening to Rock music was at a party in the early '70s, and Thin Lizzy, Electric Light Orchestra, The Who, and Nazareth made him pick up his first Air Guitar and Rock-On! He spent 23 years, from the age of 16, in the Army and wandered around the globe getting paid for travelling to far, sometimes near, exotic, though sometimes dangerous, lands and had a blast whilst doing it. Since leaving the Army in ’98, he has settled near his hometown, just a few miles from Edinburgh, Scotland. Here he helps local bands by recording demos and albums; building them websites; helping put on gigs for them, and generally helping them build up a fan base.

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