So, i've got a head cold. Concrete in the sinuses. I'm not on my death bed, so i'm going to work. Last night, i got a free music track download from Sharon Bautista, called Trader Joe's Wine. It's a preview of her new album. I put it on my mp3 player in the morning, but waited until i was at my desk to listen to it. After all, it's noisy in the car. By the time i got to work, i was in a kind of sour mood. Damned cold. As i started the tune, i felt like a music critic. Was this another song about song writing? Almost no one can pull that off. But half way through the piece, i'd calmed down and just let it move through me. When it seemed to be getting slow (i really doubt the tempo changed), it switched to some sort of bridge, which really does pick up. Sharon has a beautiful voice with some vocal range and variety.
My music biases are few. I listen to Contemporary American Folk, Classical, Indian, Industrial, Rock, Disco, Movie Soundtracks and so on, and even in shuffle mode. Mozart next to Sister Machine Gun. Rap isn't music. I don't listen to much Country. My rules are these: If there are no lyrics, then the music has to do something. I would say that there must be melody and chord progression, but i've heard good atonal music that really goes somewhere. If there are lyrics, they have to be presented so the listener can hear them, and they have to have something to say. And it can't be some dead horse you're flogging. Country often violates this. It's "he left her", or some such tear jerker, but the same plot as the last ten songs.
This bit about saying something is tricky, since it's really easy to sound like you're on a soap box, preaching your personal Gospel. Worse, my all time favorite pieces really are someone preaching their personal Gospel. The main trick that saves these pieces for me is to show some insight. For example, P!nk's So What? is a "He left her" song, but she's already picked herself up and figured out that he's not her whole life. Sure, it hurts, but life goes on, and there's hope for the future after all, and it could be even better. Without giving away the plot, Trader Joe's Wine has a situation, and presents, well, if not a full solution, then at least something that makes it suck less. If Sharon writes her own stuff (and i think she does), then in addition to a voice, she's got serious writing talent.
If this track is representative of the album, then it's pure gold. In the old days, when albums had mostly top 40 radio (which was really top 5 with a few stray tracks), i was happy if an album had only one track i liked. In this case, i've heard one track. And if that's the only track on the album i'll end up liking, it will still be worth it. Even though i've already got the one track. Perhaps i don't really have a one track mind.