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Fairy Tales and Happy Endings
label: Reach for the Sky Records
our score: 2.0 out of 5.0
The hopelessly simplistic drum loops and piano interludes tell us that this is music focused on its front woman. And it is here, or her, that the unfortunate nature of this album is unfolded. Complicated yet meaningless lyrics and striving yet fruitless vocals make this just another forgettable disc that evokes only the urge to grab for another one-perhaps Sarah McLachlan, to soothe the pains.
The style-well, I think you know the style. Quick guitar rifts and tediously fast drumbeats meet jazz bar piano notes screaming Tori Amos. And then, of course, there's singer/songwriter Rhonda Everitt, stretched atop the grand instrument's sleek surface giving her dreary all.
Beginning with a catchy techno sound, "Out From Within," the first song, makes for a halfway interesting piece of work. But Everitt, although supplying a healthy amount of words, has to elongate all her ays, ins and ees to torturous lengths in order to cover for what, as we find out, is very one-dimensional music.
She has her better moments, though, seen especially in "Kon Tiki Girl" and the oh so surprisingly good "803." They've got some fun lines about bogus fantasies and a Joni Mitchell sound that beats the monotonous drivel concerned with discovering meaning and ceasing the day, yadda, yadda, yadda.
Still, this album wants to be a lot more than those two good songs. It certainly doesn't want to think that's the best it has, so it tries, and try it does; it tries and tries until we've given up all hope. I realized, by the time "Wasted" rolled along, that this is just too forced for its own good. The track says zilch. The lyrics go on for 24 lines about being a nothing, and the song seems to be suitable with being the same. I was left scratching my head, not with wonderment, mind you, but with a sort of lifeless disorientation.
Am I being too mean? Well, I can say that I'm probably more annoyed by Rhe's debut than most people. Maybe there is meaning in this, but I shouldn't have to try so hard to find it. Or, if I should, at least let me taste the sweet sense of rhythm. But don't make me listen to Everitt blurt out self-indulgent, muddled cries of love and raise her voice nine octaves to exclaim the most worthless of all her lines.
Instead, try to captivate me. Turn those whines into whimsy, and make me think about every cunning line with fascination, not boredom. This is an album without a brain in its head, and ok, perhaps it grates my nerves more than it should, but one thing this is not is a disc anyone can call near memorable. Years from now, this CD's case will make for colorful landfill, while, I hope, we're enjoying a much more refined and a much more clever Rhe.
07-Jul-2003 9:10 AM
If you liked Fairy Tales and Happy Endings...
1. Out From Within
2. Mary Ellen
3. Kon Tiki Girl
4. 1000 Miles