Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Reviews:: Sara Melson Dirty Mind

They say you should never judge a book by it's cover, but when it comes to Sara Melson it's hard not to. I mean, the cover of Dirty Mind has her lying in the backyard, staring off into the distance with those big eyes, an acoustic placed off in the distance and little hearts and stars along side the title. Considering she's on Nettwerk, it isn't a big stretch to assume she is another singer with pleasant melodies and catchy choruses.

And to be fair, in some regards she really is just that. She's got a terrific voice and a nice collection of radio friendly, TV melodrama ready songs that could be snatched up by thousands of listeners. Sadly, all too often when a song writer comes out people try to force labels on the artist (especially with her easy on the eyes appearance and the recent success of people like Jenny Lewis and the lovely Zooey Deschanel) and compare her to established great artists. Nothing against Melson, but I don't really think those comparisons fit well and honestly, I don't think she would want them.

In fact, when you flip the cover over and see the slightly grainy picture of her dressed in big bell bottoms and start listening to her songs, you realize she'd be more likely to talk about artists like Joni Mitchell or other artists you might come across in record store crates. Don't get me wrong. I don't think she sounds like any of these artists per say, but she has one of those old souls people talk about. When she happily sings "I'll go anywhere, anytime, with you", it warms your heart like an old familiar folk song.

But that's where the comparisons stop. Unlike so many singer songwriter, Melson takes a new approach to writing about being the lover scorned. She's moving on and is going to be okay. She's not angry and hurt. She's not writing scathing songs. No, she's understands things don't work out but wants her lover to realize mistakes were made. Maybe it was him, or maybe she just got caught up in the idea of love:

"I got confused, I thought you loved me, I don't know why But you were just my muse. Maybe someday I'll make you cry when you're all along, you're all alone."

She's optimistic, admitting she can still love like she's never been hurt. She's not putting up a guard and still wants to make that blind leap. That refreshing honesty helps her songs stand out.

So what are we left with? It's really quite simple. Dirty Minds is an enjoyable record, from start to finish. Melson is charming, and her band is terrific. Her acoustic and piano songs are beefed up with delicate textures and she never falls into that sames-y trap. She constantly changes tempo and delivery and keeps the record moving nicely. But she is also just as comfortable sitting alone in front of her piano. Her record isn't going to end up on year-end lists or be blogged to death, but sometimes, just like a good book, you just want to enjoy the experience and not have to over think things.

[MP3]:: Hard Pressed
[MP3]:: Anywhere Anytime

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Posted at 3:05 PM by ack :: 0 comments

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