The word kismet just rolls off the tongue easily enough and ends up in a lip pucker smooch as Belinda Carlisle leans forward to blow a musical kiss to her enraptured fans. For the uninitiated, kismet means fate. So, what better word exemplifies Carlisle’s meteoric rise to fame that has spanned multiple decades? That in mind, it is also justifiably the title of Carlisle’s latest EP released on May 12, 2023 through RAF and BMG Rights Management.
Looking back, in the big hair ’80s era Belinda Carlisle was the voice of superstar all-girl band The Go-Go’s. In no time at all, The Go-Go’s had the world at their feet with 1987’s “We Got The Beat,” among other hits. From here, Carlisle eventually went on her own to become a solo artist as she was clearly destined for big things; just listen to early solo material from her including 1986’s “Mad About You” and it was evident. Thus, it was inevitable that fate’s gentle fingers unerringly guided her footsteps every step of the way, including a happenstance meeting with the brilliant songwriter Diane Warren which ultimately led to another incredible collaborative project between the two. Putting their heads together, they created 1987’s Heaven on Earth, and the rest is history as they say.
Fast forwarding to present day, Kismet marks Carlisle’s first collection of new, original songs since 2017’s Wilder Shores. Produced by Mati Gavriel, and written by the aforementioned Diane Warren, this starry-eyed five track album rolls out dreamsicles figurines clocking in at a little under 2o minutes. The first track to be dipped into cyberspace waters is “Big, Big Love,” a single released originally back on March 17, 2023. A lively and empowering Pop ballad, it is reminiscent of days gone by that showcases Carlisle’s playful nature and maturity as a singer. Featuring lyrics that send out a clear-cut message that Carlisle is not settling for anything less than that perfect love!
The second track to set sail, “If You Go” is an emotional piece ready to pluck at the heartstrings and bring on a waterfall of tears to sentimental listeners. Slow paced, it recited as an emotional entreaty to a romantic partner. This is before “Deeper Into You” which is a dreamy introspective piece that touches the soul with the longing to be in a perfect dynamic union. Featuring a simple melody, there is no question that love is the source of inspiration and here Carlisle takes it to another level.
Which leaves two more songs – “I Couldn’t Do That To Me” and “Sanity.” The first of these, “I Couldn’t Do That To Me,” is another slow melody touching on the feeling of not wanting to let go at any cost to avoid the tumultuous emotions of a heartbreak. Soulful and comes straight from the heart, the last of the collection, “Sanity,” is totally relatable in today’s turbulence. Just an arm’s reach during moments of chaotic craziness, the music makes you feel as if you are floating on a calm sheet of water.
Overall, Kismet is definitely a worthwhile listen. Here, Dianne Warren wields her magical wand to write music that shines bright with nostalgia like a perfectly fit pair of glass slippers for Carlisle. Conveying the essence of carefree youth and mysticism of love, there is no doubt that Belinda Carlisle still has the beat! Speaking of which, also in 2023, she launched a monthly show on SiriusXM’s First Wave channel called Mad About Music where she plays her personal favorites. Additionally, even more recently, she teamed up with Pop icon Emmanuel for a duet Christmas rendition of “All I Want for Christmas Is You” released on December 1st that is a must listen. For all of this and the material on Kismet, Cryptic Rock gives Belinda Carlisle efforts 5 out of 5 stars.