Music: Mary Lorson & Saint Low

I discovered Madder Rose by accident in a used CD store near my college in 1995 or so. It was the album "Bring it Down". I liked it a lot (esp the title track) but it didn't rock my world. There was something there, but it was not for me (more of a Sunday's fan at that point).

The other night, purely by accident, I grabbed "Bring it Down" when heading out to a get-together. When I arrived I was suprised at what I had picked up, I played it not having heard it for a while. "Who is that?" another guest asked with distinct interest.

Curious about Madder Rose's status these days, I went to the glowing review. I discovered all the not-so-sordid history (the band broke up amicably in 1999), and found a glowing review of "Realistic" (a 2005 album released by Mary Lorson and Saint Low). I hopped on Amazon, bought a copy, and I've been listening to it for two days now.

It's really good. Much better than "Bring it Down", IMO. The same voice, but somehow my understanding of it has changed over these 10 years. It is not a traditional voice. Flavorful but not substantial. Sweet but not sacharin. Mary neither lapses into too-self-aware over-lyricised talkiness, nor into earnest straining. Hers is a voice like the thinnest china, almost translucent and quite rewarding to examine with care. I can almost see the VH1 "Behind the Music" interview with the classical voice coach that turned her down for Juliard (or whereever) and shaking his head at the success she has achieved..

I'm not a big lyrics person, so I can't comment on that aspect of the album. It sometimes takes me years to actually hear what the singer is actually saying - occasionally it comes as something of a shock, "That song is about WHAT?!" At most I'll enjoy the confluence of a musical and a specific linguistic phrase. And I have never, ever enjoyed a song more after I understood the lyrics. Ever. That said, one lyric did stand out on Realistic, "I've got a thunderbolt in me" repeated in the chorus of the first song. It's kind of a quirky lyric that goes with the tune; I like it!

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