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
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
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