Music Review: Wilder Shores

by Belinda CarlisleSpirit Voyage
reviewed by John Malkin
Wilder Shores album cover

Belinda Carlisle’s new album, Wilder Shores, has the former Go-Go’s singer blending pop with Kundalini mantra chants, a surprising and wonderful addition to her string of hit solo albums. “Every album I’ve done has made sense in reflecting where I’ve been at that time,” she told S&H.

Before she cofounded The Go-Go’s in 1978, Carlisle was drummer for the Los Angeles punk band The Germs. “My musical beginnings came out of garage punk and that early music was always a real expression of where I was at inside,” she told S&H. “It wasn’t necessarily angry, but it was a complete anything-goes form of self-expression. And mantra is pretty much the same thing. Both are forms of self-expression.”

Wilder Shores features vocalist Simrit Kaur on three tracks as well as sister Go-Go Charlotte Caffey adding backup vocals. Most of the songs are Sikh chants sung in Gurmukhi, like “Adi Shaki” and “Har Gobinday.” There’s also a new acoustic version of Carlisle’s 1987 hit song, “Heaven Is a Place on Earth.” Carlisle explained, “The lyrics on that song are very yogic and they make a lot of sense on this album.” 

Belinda Carlisle2
Belinda Carlisle

Carlisle’s plan to combine pop and mantras wasn’t immediately embraced. “To be honest, almost everybody didn’t want to know about it,” she said. “In the spiritual community they didn’t understand it. And my record company also didn’t get it. So, I just thought, If nobody responds to it, then at least I liked it! That’s been my attitude anyway with my last albums like Voilá [2007], which was all in French.” 

Carlisle began practicing Kundalini yoga 26 years ago when pregnant with her son. “During that time I was battling my own addiction demons,” she told S&H. “When I got sober, almost 13 years ago, I started a consistent practice. So I know its power.”

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