Review: ‘Lips Unsealed’ by Belinda Carlisle

I fell in love with Belinda Carlisle in the back of a clunky brown passenger van in the summer of 1987, my walkman spinning the cassette of her debut solo album, “Belinda.” On the cover, the most beautiful woman in the world was dressed in all black against a Hubba Bubba pink backdrop, her bob flung whimsically in a way that said “I’m the kind of girl who tosses her hair. I’m always having fun.”

To see her on MTV supported this personae. In her videos, Belinda Carlisle spun and rolled in the sand, dance-flirted on sun porches, made love to a convertible’s head rest with her voice — a voice that sounded equal parts cigarettes and Tab. Her clothes always dangled off bare shoulders, like she had dressed hastily in the morning before sneaking out a bedroom window. Never trashy, though. What people mean when they say: “Why, she’s a natural beauty.”

In her memoir “Lips Unsealed” the former Go-Go reveals that this was all a front. Beneath the tousled red hair and pearly whites, she was a coke head in an internal state of controlled chaos. She was on and off the wagon so many times she should have splinter scars on the backs of her thighs. This shouldn’t come as a surprise. The Go-Gos reputation for partying hardy was well-documented, and frequently Carlisle’s own binges ruined live performances — both televised and at sold-out concerts — and pissed off her band mates.

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