Songs of Zion
Cheri Magill "Ready"
If I were to sum up this CD in one sentence, it would be, “Rock that’s on the edge, but not over it.” It’s a good blend of mostly driving and busy alt rock/pop sounds with a bit of slow and sentimental thrown in for seasoning. Some songs, like, “Play it Safe”, or “Don’t Look Down”, get particularly ornery, but it never strays into really heavy rock.
In addition to the current alt influences, I heard a bit of the retro, like the Pretenders in, “Ready”—which is a great tune to make the title track for a first CD. It’s one of those “announce yourself” kinda songs.
Another possibility for the single-sentence might be, “Strength with hesitation”. This is a strong lady. She’s not afraid to tell you so. The opening track sets you straight, “I refuse to be your typical girl…”, and then she spells out how she doesn’t need constant attention, or doesn’t like mind games, and how she doesn’t like to fake dramas. If I weren’t already married to a girl like this, this is the kinda girl I’d like to marry!
In fact, there were a few tunes in this set that reminded me of my own marriage. “Reluctant Hero” reminds me very much of my wife. She’s the kind who braves other people’s crisis to help them through it, but sometimes feels drained because of it. Yet somehow, she still manages to find the strength for herself as well.
And “As I Do” is about a typical man’s mistake of trying to measure himself up to an imaginary perfection, and how she sees him for the success he really is, even if he feels like a failure at times. My wife sees me that way, when I can’t.
But with all the “strong woman” songs, there were a few that let us see her own fear a bit, too, like the ballad “Easy”, or “Perfect in New York”. That’s good to know that an artist has different sides, sometimes stong, sometimes weak. Too much confidence comes across as arrogance, and too much indecision and you get either Woody Allen, or the depression-ridden angst of most same-ol’-same-ol’ pop bands on the radio today. Cheri has a good balance, here.
I was quite surprised to find that this seems to have been done under the Excel label. It’s much edgier than most of the things they do, even just under distribution. Of course, I have no idea how that will all sort out, now that Excel is Deseret Book, but… I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see this one take some Pearls this year. We’ll just have to see.
In the meantime, here’s a great CD. It rocks, it thinks, it feels. What more do you need?
**This post is a part of my "Songs of Zion" series, where I review CD's in the LDS market. If you're an artist and want your CD reviewed, contact me!**