on August 5, 2009
Wow, these newcomers to Country are such a hit!! I hope they're around for a long long long time.
I bought the CD for the song "Wild at Heart". That's such a great song, and so upbeat. You can't help but to have your toe tappin' or rip off your clothes and run around nekkid when Wild at Heart is playing. Well, okay, maybe not that last one, but your toe will be tappin' to the song.
The great thing is that all of the songs are fantastic! This is also such a super cheap price for the CD.
Bottom line is, go and get this CD, you won't be sorry. :O)
Enjoy the ride.
on August 4, 2009
I was totally wrong about this record, which is a study in contradictions...I'm a Cheyenne Kimball fan...her record "The Day Has Come" from 2006 on Daylight/Epic/Sony kicks a**, a hard-rocking cross between prime Cheap Trick, Hotel Paper-era Michelle Branch, and even Veruca Salt, but she joins this "country powerpop" threesome, becoming a quartet...she co-wrote all the songs on her solo record but wrote none here...the group appears to be 4 songwriters but only wrote one of the 13 cuts...they are all real musicians but only Tom Gossin plays piano on 1 cut...the rest of it is studio musicians (it's all their vocals tho), albeit great ones like Rick Springfield's guitar player Tim Pierce, John Mellencamp drummer Kenny Aronoff and ex-Bering Strait guitarist/banjo player Ilya Toshinsky...and it's produced/mostly written by Matt Serletic (it's on his own label Emblem through Warner Nashville), who's mostly known for working with Rob Thomas and Matchbox Twenty...very mainstream.
In all, I should NOT like this record...but ya know what??? It's actually really enjoyable, in spite of itself, and a good, intriguing, question mark of a launching pad. These guys and girls are not nobodies and have been kicking around the biz for a while with no success...this is their vehicle.
It's funny...a friend of mine who's primarily into alt-country but also "country powerpop", I told him I bought this CD and said it was a mistake...he told me that it was definitely NOT a mistake and he actually shed some light onto this record...that it's basically a well-written POP record, not really a country one, and it's sort of a parody of mainstream country, like "this is not who we really are, this is a joke, but we're in on the joke, having fun with this stuff, we don't take ourselves too seriously, and this album is just a VEHICLE to get our names out there, and on future records, you will see what we're TRULY capable of"...and he's right!!! Plus, this record is a lot more complex than it first seems...and in the wrong hands, these songs would sound much much worse. The way the songs are played and arranged, the vocal arrangements, it's kind of intricate. I was wrong in saying it's a total wash...it's not the greatest thing ever, but it's kind of UNDERRATED and there's a huge question mark over it...like if they will be doing all the writing on future records, if they will have solo careers (Cheyenne back to her's...her solo record is really great)...if they will have writing careers, if the 4 of them will be in the band in the future, etc.
Right now, Gloriana is like a country-targeted Partridge Family or Monkees (fabricated at first but with great writing underneath) and future records will have more input from Gloriana themselves (brothers/guitarists Mike & Tom Gossin (who also plays piano), singer/tambourine shaker Rachel Reisert, and singer/mandolin player/guitarist Cheyenne Kimball)...this one has great writing by Jeffrey Steele, who's an alternative country songwriter. This record threw me big time, yet again!!
The first song, "How Far Do You Wanna Go??" is a lovable powerpop frankenstein monster mashup of the Stones' "Start Me Up", Iggy Pop/David Bowie's "China Girl" and, er, Savage Garden's "Break Me, Shake Me"??? But it works like hell...the second song and first single, "Wild At Heart" is a fun catchy singalong, complete with slapping roadcases, that it's a pretty irresistible pop tune, perfect for summer. Another fave is "If You're Leaving", which has a total sunny 70s vibe. The Cheyenne-sung "You Said" has lots of edge, especially in her voice, redolent of her solo record. The Rachel-sung "Over Me Now??" has a great chorus. The closer, the group-written "Time To Let Me Go" is a well-written, atmospheric ballad...best song on the record. There are other ballads that are better than expected, "The Way It Goes" and "Come & Save Me", which have a sweetness that is not at all corny or cookie-cutter or schmaltzy. There are even 2 slower songs, "Lead Me On" & "Change Your Mind", that have a celtic-pop vibe, reminiscent of Irish sibling popsters The Corrs. Even a song called "Cry On Command", co-written by Wayne Kirkpatrick from Little Big Town, which threatens to be wince-worthy, somehow works.
This record is shockingly enjoyable and I can see why Taylor Swift is a big fan...based on that song they wrote, I don't think this record really amply displays what these 4 kids in Gloriana are truly capable of, but YET, it doesn't sell them short either. It's both a parody of mainstream country music but with smart pop hooks, an album of curveballs, of contradictions, and many people who dismiss them on first listen...the joke's on them...there's depth underneath the surface that's rewarding when you really dig.