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CD REVIEW: Joanna McMeikan - Anti-Industry
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CD REVIEW: Joanna McMeikan
Anti-Industry Archives

Joanna McMeikan - Breaking the Habit

"A mediocre effort at best."

By Kristyn Cunningham
email :: avaricemurony
Favorite Tracks:
>> Past Unconditional {{clip}}
>> Laughable Tragedy {{clip}}
>> Galatea {{clip}}

I'll be honest- I'm not a fan of female vocalists. It seems silly to say when I'm female, but my problem is that there aren't many female singers out there who like to rock. Most of the time, they make pretty, dainty piano songs that would make a testosterone pumping male like Colin Farrell go on a murderous rampage.

This album is no different. I'm not saying Joanna McMeikan isn't talented- this woman has a voice with so much power behind it that I had to turn down the volume on my headphones in fear that she was going to implode my eardrums. My ears rang for ten minutes after I turned the disc off. Whoever did her mixing and production is a genius- every song is perfectly balanced and full, each note caressing her voice, the obvious focal point of almost every tune.

Unfortunately, those are the only nice things I can think of to say. The songs range from either crap rejects from Riverdance ("January Snow") to a bizarre love song to prescription pills ("Rainbow"). Keep popping those little blue pills that "paint you a rainbow," Joanna - I guess you must need them. What's even more disturbing is that I'm not sure if this song is supposed to be a sarcastic jab at our overmedicated world (in which case, it's genius) or if it's a sincere thank you to her shrink for drugging her up (in which case, maybe you should up the dosage, doc).

Halfway through the disc, I'll admit that things begin to look up a bit. "Past Unconditional" is a bopping R&B flavored tune. Her gentle British voice floats ethereally in spoken word over a really solid, thumping beat that has at least 3 mesmerizing layers. One would think all these layers would make the song painful and distracting- to the contrary, it creates a beautiful multi-rhythmic melody.

The groove keeps coming on in "Galatea", a jazzy mellow track. Yet despite the beauty of the song, her piercing soprano is a distraction throughout. I was won over by "Laughable Tragedy" because of the lyrics that sneer about how everyone has a plastic smile in their pocket in California. It seems that even across the ocean, people understand the falseness of the West Coast. This song also displays a dry, sarcastic sense of humor that I think may have been lost in translation in the Prozac Love Song ("Rainbow").

Then it's back to run of the mill on the last three tracks. I want to reiterate that the songs are beautiful and haunting- they just all seem to sound the same to me. Warbling, mournful, introspective lyrics matched with a decorative piano. Yawn. A mediocre effort at best.

1 comment or Leave a comment
From: (Anonymous) Date: July 15th, 2004 09:33 pm (UTC) (Link)

Breaking the Habit

Hi, this is Joanna. Thanks for the review, just wanted to post and let you know that of course "Rainbow" can be taken in a sarcastic vein, I am anything but an advocate of the Prozac nation! Also, while I respect and appreciate all of your comments, I wanted to suggest that Anti-Industry might give cds for review to people who at least have some appreciation for the style of music they're listening to? I may be wrong here, but it seems like this reviewer would dislike Sarah McLachlan and Dido and Kate Bush as much as she does my style, since none of them rock out either. ;) I'd feel better about criticism from someone who enjoyed the genre I'm trying to work in but didn't think I was doing it well. Of course everyone's entitled to their opinion, and maybe I'm missing the point of your site? Let me know if I am. But wouldn't it make more sense to review things in terms of whether they're good examples of their genre rather than in blanket terms of whether the reviewer likes that genre or not?? Just a thought. Thanks for listening.

Is the full site coming back up again soon?
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