Thursday, March 08, 2007

Record Review: Jill Cunniff "City Beach"

It's been a while since I picked up a new record was all that crazy about, but I finally have one I'd like to share with you. Jill Cunniff was the lead singer of a fantastic indie group, Lucious Jackson, until they broke up in 2000. Many of you who think you've never heard of them may remember their highly popular Gap Holiday add where they sang "Let it Snow." The group was discovered and signed by the Beasty Boys, and opened for them on the road a few times.

On her solo debut, Cunniff flexes some fantastic Pop mussels. Everyone knows the old story about how Dark Side of the Moon syncs up to The Wizard of Oz, right? Well City Beach may very well do the same with car rides down-the-shore. The tracks are warm and sunny and you an almost smell suntan lotion as you listen. You could easily listen to this record all the way to the beach and take it with you to your towel and pop it in your boom-box. Oh shit! That's right, no one has them any more. Oh well, it will play just as well on your Ipod as you bake in the sun, seeing and being seen.

This record's best feature is its listenability, not necessarily it's lyrical substance. The opening lines of the first track, Lazy Girls, say it all. "Here's a song for lazy girls and laid back boys who never quite outgrew their toys. Maybe they told you you got to go get 'em, but you'd rather lay low and watch the river run." The forth track, Warm Sound, is a slow and cool jam that may induce a kind of rhythmic head roll. There's no story to the song, but there is a clear message that is very comforting as it's 35 degrees out with snow on the ground. "There's a warm sound, comin our way. It's a sweet breezy kind of day." Putting this record out two months before the weather really gets nice was perfect timing.

The seventh song, Love is a Luxury, is my favorite from this record and is already on of my favorites this year. It comes across as very autobiographical from an artist who has attained a status that brought her at least some financial success, and yet sounds as if she has struggled at time to find what's important. "What does it mean, to have money to burn? I bought it all, I lost it all. I didn't learn...Love is a Luxury." I think one of the other lines is applicable for almost any of us who have pondered our success in both live and love. She sings "What if I never have a fortune or the worlds affection? ... perhaps it is perfection" before coming to the conclusion "I don't need much, cause you are enough for me."

In the end I can say that City Beach is some damn good work out of Jill Cunniff and required summer listening for all those who have a slow groove in their soul. And if you find that you like Ms. Cunniff, don't miss the Lucious Jackson greatest hits record that's out now too.

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