reviews for blink the brightest

The Register-Guard, Eugene, Oregon
June 18, 2005

Bonham's latest might just find her back in fashion

If Tracy Bonham is ever going to shake the title of "one-hit wonder," now might be the time.

If - and it's a big if - American radio can find a spot on its corporate playlist for some smart, well-crafted and well-performed pop-rock.

That's what the Eugene native has created on her new album, "Blink theBrightest," due out Tuesday on Zoe Records, an imprint of Rounder Records.

Bonham rocketed to stardom in 1996 with "Mother, Mother," the single from her major label debut, "The Burdens of Being Upright." The song went to No. 1 on Billboard's modern rock chart and was nominated for a Grammy.

But she got caught up in record company turmoil when her label was sold. By the time her follow-up, "Down Here," was released in 2000, Bonham's heat had cooled.

Her talents clearly have not. Despite being a classically trained violinist and pianist, Bonham stuck mostly with the guitar on her two previous LPs. Not this time.

Piano, violin, organ, claves. They're all on display. The violin particularly shines on the album's closer, "Did I Sleep Through It All?"

"Blink the Brightest" starts out strong with "Something Beautiful" and "I Was Born Without You," two songs that demonstrate Bonham's vocal range. They also demonstrate that she's not afraid to talk about her music industry travails.

"I don't care if I'm not in fashion" she sings in "Beautiful," while on "Born" she laments, "I got through the worst without you/ Why the hell can' I do it now?"

Really, there's not a misstep on "Blink" until "Dumbo Sun." With its choppy Wurlitzer introduction and forced lyrics - "Ask Truman Capote Truman Capote Truman Capote/ And all of my homeys" - it seems out of place, like a reject from a Sheryl Crow album.

Bonham rebounds quickly with the lovely ballad "All Thumbs," which may sound familiar to some fans.

"All Thumbs" and two other tracks, "Eyes" and "Shine," originally appeared on the self-produced EP "Bee," which Bonham released in 2003. She sold 10,000 copies of "Bee" while on the road with the Blue Man Group and used the proceeds to finance "Blink."

And for that, fans should be thankful, because "Blink the Brightest" is a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

- Carolyn Lamberson