Haven’t done a music review in a long time, but with Kari Kimmel, Shannon Curtis, Anna Nalick, and Lindsey Stirling all close to releasing or already releasing a new album, I couldn’t resist starting a new series. First up is Meiko.
I’ve known Meiko since her days of waitressing at Hotel Café (Though she never remembers my name). I particularly enjoyed her early work, back when every song was a revelation. Her label days had plenty of great songs, but also quite a few that I listened to once and never again. Hope that changes here.
Like so many of her songs, it’s simple and personal; amazing how she can come up with so many permutations to that formula. It’s softer than most of her tunes; I can see it as a wedding song, especially for the line “I can’t wait to take your name.” Love the addition of some non-obtrusive but supportive strings. 4/5
Another slow song, though this one has plenty of percussion; sounds like steel guitar doing most of the melody. Didn’t feel at all special until the chorus. 3/5
Instant 50s vibe. More cutesy than anything else. 3/5
Behind some sparse guitar picking she lets her voice take command more than in the previous three. Even with background vox and a beat joining in, her vocals grab your attention. This is the most lyrically complex song, with her struggling to trust the guy when he goes out at night. 4/5
I Can’t Tell
Some 70s funk leads off this tune, which has a little bit of a dreamy quality in the chorus. A more playful tune that her usual.. 3/5
We All Fall Down
This is more vintage Meiko, with the fast vocals. The barely-there strings elevate this especially simple song. The lyrics are trying to be uplifting, but feels like there’s something missing to it. 3/5
Another sparse slow song, allowing her vocals to shine. The lyrics don’t quite fit with the music; take the line “I want you to stay, so I can be the one who walks away.” Harkens back to her early days, when she was singing about exes. Too long of an outro. 2/5
For the Road
More upbeat than most on this album, though still nothing like her bigger hits, this is a song about missing her loved one while being away doing concerts (a staple for touring bands since Journey’s “Faithfully”). This is more what people who only listen to the hits have come to expect from her. 4/5
This is the softest I’ve ever heard her sing, but it confused me.
It sounds almost like a lullaby, but once the Jamison line comes in you know the title’s not literal. It isn’t till she sings “I want to get back to the way we started” that it clears up somewhat. The beginning of the outro features a weird-sounding instrument that almost took me out of this song, but it finishes with a nice soft flourish. 3/5
Wow, that was short and quick!
The first two songs are more downbeat than her usual, and I don’t mean compared to “Leave the Lights On” or “Piano Song.” Even her early classics like “Walk Away” and “Said and Done” were faster than these. There’s a definite theme here, at least for the first half, as you’d expect from the title. After years in the City of Beautiful Angels, she married and moved to Nashville, so it figures a lot of these songs are about not just love, but spending their lives together. (Not all, though.) What hasn’t changed, thankfully, is her signature voice and vocal inflection, which I imagine is the reason most people enjoy her music.
While this in general is what we’ve come to expect from Meiko, there’s one thing that disappoints me: no song stood out. All are good, but I can’t pinpoint any that I believed was great; the closest was probably “Big City” or “For The Road.”