Amy MacDonald – [Album]

Friday, 30 May 2008

There’s a popular theory among those generally disinterested in new music, the narrow-minded and the foolish that all of the great ideas in pop have already been thought up; that all modern rock outlines is a prolonged denouement or journey into mediocrity that all genres of music have experienced historically after the last splash was made. The pity of it is that those people will feel vindicated if the only record they hear this year is Amy MacDonald`s This Is The Life. The seemingly flat, deadpan and expressionless delivery of the title is the ideal prelude to music that matches it; from the opening of “Mr. Rock & Roll”, MacDonald sounds either bored or mechanical as she delivers lines like “So-called Mr. Rock & Roll/ He’s dancing on his own again/ Talking on his phone again” that fall as flat as her monotone. Is it meant to be ironic? Is it meant to be commentary? Given that audiences aren’t afforded any lead-up explanation, it doesn’t really matter because the trend continues through “Youth Of Today” and said trend is uniformly boring.

Utilizing the most unmemorable sounds in acoustic pop since the Lillith Fair shut down including – but not limited to – Delores O’Riordan’s Celtic yelp, Sarah Mclachlin’s moodier moments and anything Dido ever did and mixing the mess with a higher than safe dosage of Effexor, Amy MacDonald takes a fashionable stance of ennui to its most grotesque extreme. Such lack luster vocals make This Is The Life (but particularly tracks like “Let’s Start A Band”) sound as if an entire record has been constructed around Michael Stipe’s morose “Hey kids, rock n’ roll” proclamation at the beginning of “Drive” except that MacDonald clearly took such a sentiment with more sincerity than was intended; it’s just boring, morose and dour for the sake of being boring, morose and dour here.

Even when the singer attempts to shake the vibe (“I Wish For Something More,” “Barrowland Ballroom”) there’s no hope for reprieve. Amy MacDonald just can’t help herself here; the record is boring to the core.

Time will tell it the singer is able to break out of this funk. Maybe future albums (if there are any) will show that the singer isn’t quite as two-dimensional as she appears to be here but, for now, Amy MacDonald has illustrated only that she is bored and is intent upon not suffering alone.

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