In the late 1990s a commercial oddity in Tomb Raider music occurred, consisting of three peripheral releases green-lighted by the merchandise-hungry Tomb Raider marketing team (amidst their infamous efflux of licensing collectibles). Somehow Lara Croft ended up with a legitimate pop album on CD.
Dave Stewart, the other half of Annie-Lennox-featuring British 80s pop-rock duo Eurythmics, picked up the existing official Tomb Raider model - Rhona Mitra - to create a spin-off pop-driven amalgamation of electronica, dance, alternative and soft-rock music encased in Croft's name. Mitra lends her vocals and image, in-character, to the interesting collection.
1998's "Lara Croft: Come Alive" and its provocative single "Getting Naked" ('97) were successful enough (attribution to the character's popularity at the time, no doubt) that they were followed by another full album release entitled "Lara Croft: Female Icon" in 1999. The albums only saw a general release in France, and as Bert's All-New Citrus Sarcophagus puts it; "there’s so little about it on the web you’d think someone had tried to quietly erase it from pop history."
Mitra co-wrote and recorded tracks with Dave Stewart when she was playing the real life counterpart of Lara Croft, purely for marketing purposes, between Tomb Raider II (1998) and Tomb Raider III (1999). Fittingly, recording took place during two weeks upon Stewart's boat cruising down the Amazon River, says Mitra: "I was pinching myself the whole time, it was the most bonkers thing ever. One minute I was doing a play in Battersea Arts Centre and the next I was on a boat up the Amazon with this rock god, both of us with feathers on our heads, writing mad songs and drinking rum." [src]
Mitra also elaborates on the premise behind the single "Getting Naked":
"I don't think going starkers in a public place is especially commendable. You can go to Stringfellow's for that. Although they don't even get it all off there, do they? The song is really about one night stands and a woman saying that she'll go so far but not the whole hog. Why does all frolicking have to end in penetration?" - Rhona Mitra
Female Icon was published by Naked Music, still running today as a dance music factory complete with cult status, and licensed by label XIII Bis Group - who have this press release to offer:
"Lara Croft, the heroine of the best selling computer game Tomb Raider has been brought to life through Rhona Mitra and like her counterpart, she's one hell of a woman, with one hell of an attitude. Rhona has recorded these tracks - produced and co-written by ex-Eurythmics superstar Dave Stewart - in true Lara style, the studio was on a boat sailing down the amazon!"
MoTR's repository has purchased copies of Female Icon and Come Alive on CD, dispatched from and sold by Amazon.co.uk. Out of print and constantly increasing in difficulty of acquisition, Icon along with Alive and Naked, are fast becoming Tomb Raider music rarities.
Little else is found upon the internet about these wonders besides their first appearance in French publisher Semic Comic's Tomb Raider Specials. The albums mark Mitra's only discography to date; though her contributions are credited "as Lara Croft" and are difficult to cite due to ambiguous credentials.
The opening track from Icon, "Raiders", the only song not produced by Stewart, uses audio samples from the video games, including long time villain Natla's famous quote "Feast your eyes on this Lara" (Tomb Raider, 1996). Alluding to Tomb Raider II & III as well, the track names are grouped tongue and cheek as "London, Egyptian, Underwater, Islands, Final & Training levels", all "performed by Rhona Mitra".
If you are unable to collect all 3, focus on Icon as it includes the Glen Skinner Mix of "Getting Naked", as well as Come Alive's title track. The albums will grace our Commercial Discography catalogue once constructed.
[Originally posted November 25th, 2011]