Sunday, June 17, 2007

Review - MELISSA McCLELLAND - Thumbalina's One Night Stand

Melissa McClelland
The Orange Record Label
Sometimes it just blows me away to think of all the wonderful females singers Canada has produced, from Jann Arden to Shania Twain to Sarah McClachlan. To that list you might well want to add the name Melissa McClelland.
To be honest I hear a touch of McClachlan in McClelland, and at times their music has a similar feel, a similarity heard on a cut such Solitary Life.
At the same time McClelland is nobody's clone. In fact, this is a lady with a sound which is actually quite diverse. Yes there are pop overtones, although lyrically it is more akin to cutting-edge folk. There are stories here to be told and messages to get across, and often that is accomplished in darker tones.
You can also hear elements of country, blues and even a hint or two of jazz.
In some ways this might be an album which exemplifies the reality of 2007, in that musical genres are increasingly blurred. This is becoming an era where one will become less a fan of a particular genre and will instead simply be drawn to musicians who are good at their craft. In that regard McClelland is an artist to seek out.
In the bio notes for McClelland they describe this album about as well as you can. "Thumbelina's One Night Stand is the first of its kind. This album is a collection of dark fables for the soul, where love haunts solitude and fantasy trumps reality. By unflinchingly internalizing pop music sensibilities, Melissa carefully maps out the landscape within us. She explores the rules on the inside, for it is there where most rules are broken"
As dark as some of the so-called fables are, McClelland's comfortable, sweet voice manages to hold the darkness and bay in a sense, leaving one to accept the darker tones of the lyrics. That being said, while Thumbelina's One Night Stand can be appreciated musically on the first listen, there are messages here which will become more poignant as the songs become familiar with repeated plays, and the listener truly begins to hear and absorb the words.
Songs such as Oh, Love, Passenger 24, Come Home Suzie and several others are lyrically gems, and musically pleasing with McClelland's voice.
I am impressed that lyrically this CD is so sound, and with the exception of two cuts, the easily recognizable You Know I Love You Baby, and the cut Dayton Ohio, 1903, each song is written by McClelland. That fact clearly shows there is an exciting new songwriter in this country too.
This is McClelland's third CD, and while not having heard her earlier works I am betting this is her best, since it's difficult to envision a much better effort for the style and genre of music McClelland does so well.
Expect to hear this lady's name on the music scene in Canada for years to come.
You can check her out at

- Review first appeared Yorkton This Week Newspaper May 30, 2007 - Yorkton, SK, Canada

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