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Nice enough sounding guitar pop but hampered by very, very insubstantial lyrics
on 7 February 2013
This review comes from an internet game. You buy an album you've never heard of from a shop. Then you write your impression of it before and after listening to it for the first time.
---BEFORE LISTENING TO IT---
WHY DID YOU SELECT THIS ONE? I've seen it on shop shelves for years. It was never appealing enough to drop £3 on, but for £1 why not? It's obviously a pretty voiced girl singing a bunch of pop orientated love songs. How bad can it be?
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE COVER? It's a good looking girl in a standard close up headshot cover. No imagination to be found. The only slightly out of the ordinary thing is that it appears to have been photographed at magic hour when the sun is about to go under the horizon which creates golden, glowing light. The image, and the thinking behind it, stirs nothing in me and leads me to expect no surprises or any eccentricity from her.
WHAT TYPE OF MUSIC ARE YOU REALISTICALLY EXPECTING? Like Vanessa Carlton I expect a weak, tepid album but three to five solidly decent to very good songs. The Sheryl Crow duet hints that at least that song should be good. The song titles are bland. Only the title track piques my curiosity to any real extent. It makes me think of both toilet paper and Janet Leigh in Psycho (1960) writing in her room on the stationery. I expect she has a nice, if unremarkable voice, and that she plays the guitar. For some reason I doubt there are keyboards on more than a few songs. Also the songs are probably straightforward love songs with no distinct, quirky personality of their own that only she could have come up with. I think a third of it will be up-tempo pop songs, a third rockier songs and a third ballads.
BEST CASE SCENARIO IT WILL SOUND LIKE? Strong music and lyric writing and a strong, forceful voice on a set of consistently good guitar based songs.
WORST CASE SCENARIO IT WILL SOUND LIKE? Insipid, generic, immature female singer-songwriter music with nothing to say.
HIGH, LOW OR MIDDLING EXPECTATIONS? Low for the album, almost high for a few solid tracks.
---AFTER LISTENING TO IT---
WHAT DID IT SOUND LIKE? A thick, fully produced sounding guitar based singer-songwriter pop album. I only noticed piano on one song ('One of These Days') were it was the lead instrument. It was rockier than expected. She has a nice singing voice.
DID YOU LIKE IT? It started quite good. Then by about the fourth song I realised that the lyrics were vacuous. Sonically the songs sounded nice but there was no substance behind the noise. The words may appear to mean something, but on closer inspection they are meaningless. Before the end I had a sour taste in my mouth due to how empty feeling it was. It was all a facade to hide how little there was going on underneath the surface. The lyric, 'I've been driving for an hour just talking to the rain,' from the opening of 'Breathe' almost had me laughing at how poor it was.
DID IT SATISFY, SURPASS OR FAIL YOUR EXPECTATIONS? Met them in that the album was weak but there's about an EPs worth of okay songs.
WHAT ARE THE BEST SONGS? 'Are You Happy Now' (short and effective), 'Empty Handed' (nice orchestra on it), 'One of These Days,' 'Love Me Like That' (the duet with Sheryl Crow) and at a push 'Where Are You Now?' as it has some convincing loud rock moments on it.
WHAT ARE THE WEAKEST SONGS? 'Breathe,' 'Hotel Paper' (a dreary ballad), ''Til I Get Over You' and 'Everywhere.'
WOULD YOU RECOMMEND IT TO OTHERS? No.
PLEASE DESCRIBE AND SUM IT UP IN ONE SENTENCE. Nice sounding guitar pop but hampered by very insubstantial lyrics.
ANY OTHER COMMENTS? I'm just going to put the songs I listed as the best on my iPod and not bother with the rest.
---A MONTH OR TWO LATER---
HOW MANY TIMES DO YOU THINK YOU HAVE PLAYED IT? Once on CD.
HAS THE ALBUM IMPROVED OR WORSENED WITH TIME? I ripped the CD to iTunes and listened to a few of the better songs again to see if they were really worth putting on my iPod. I decided they weren't. So the album is a massive dud in my opinion. I have no intention of listening to her ever again.