Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Mieka Pauley – Out of Car Wrecks and Hurricanes

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Mieka Pauley – Out of Car Wrecks and Hurricanes (EP)
(...and Mieka Pauley's Acoustic EP)

A few weeks back, I wrote up a series of mini-reviews for some of my favorite musical artists I found on Myspace Music. One of the artists I mentioned was Mieka Pauley. If you missed it, here it is:

Mieka Pauley:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Mieka Pauley offers up four downloadable MP3s on her Myspace page and all of them are, in a word, brilliant. She effortlessly mixes genres like Folk, Rock, Blues, Pop and contemporary R&B. Her voice is soulful and bluesy and her writing is smart and full of feeling. The overall impression of the tracks is powerful, the production is transparent and doesn’t get in the way at all and the orchestration is perfect for the individual tracks. Mieka Pauley’s influences do show through on occasion in these four songs, but again, her delivery is so powerful that they meld into the songs that she brings to life. She actually has two EPs available on iTunes for download. The first is the Mieka Pauley (Acoustic) EP from 2003 and the second is the Out of Car Wrecks & Hurricanes EP released in 2006. The Way It Is, Stronger, First Stone and Run are more than worth the download time. If she doesn’t have a deal already…she should!

Well, I took my own advice for once and went back to iTunes. Both of Mieka Pauley’s EPs, Out of Car Wrecks and Hurricanes and her self titled Acoustic EP, were priced at only $3.99 each. In the words of Neal Stephenson, I have “Poor Impulse Control” anyway, so that was just too much to resist. I picked up both of the EP’s for less than the cost of a full album on iTunes and I recommend you do the same. Why? Let me explain.

One reason is:
Mieka Pauley’s song Faster may very well be one of the best written songs I’ve ever heard…ever…from anyone. Understand? Let me repeat that if you weren’t paying attention, Mieka Pauley’s song Faster may very well be one of the best written songs I’ve ever heard. Lyrically she manages to weave her words together in such a way that as you listen, you nearly experience them for yourself. The verses loop back on themselves in a fashion similar to that of the “Fate” Mieka Pauley sings of.

The other four songs on Out of Car Wrecks and Hurricanes are also blessed with more outstanding songwriting. Lyrically and musically, Mieka Pauley’s songs Stronger, The Way It Is, First Stone and Draped In Blue each manage to shine on their own which give the EP an amazing overall presence with five extremely powerful songs all showcasing her signature bluesy, soulful and smooth voice.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Another reason is:
Out of Car Wrecks and Hurricanes is a beautifully produced EP by John Alagía who has worked with John Mayer, Jason Mraz, Dave Matthews and Liz Phair just to name a few. The arrangements and orchestrations are flawless and the instrumental performances given by the supporting musicians are stellar. The only problem with Out of Car Wrecks and Hurricanes is that it only lasts for five songs.

In contrast, the Mieka Pauley Acoustic EP offers up seven acoustic guitar and vocal tracks, four of which are fleshed out on Out of Car Wrecks and Hurricanes. The three songs not reworked, Run, Secret and Invincible, are all very good tracks. However, I think the reason I like the Acoustic EP so much is that it gives you, as the listener, the ability to “zoom in” on the full tracks from Out of Car Wrecks and Hurricanes and get to the very core of what the songs are.

When you listen to Out of Car Wrecks and Hurricanes and then transition into the Acoustic EP, you get to go from a very lush and full aural experience to one that is very sparse but incredibly passionate. So where does that leave the listener? My answer would be, with two albums that could not be more different and yet more closely related.

Putting it in another context...For me, Mieka Pauley's two EPs are almost like looking at a Monet from across a room and then close up. When you see one of Monet’s Waterlillies or his work from his garden at Giverny at a distance you see a complete image full of light and color and depth. As you approach the image, it magically vanishes before your eyes and you’re left with the canvas, the brush strokes and dabs of color that are equally as impressive in their simplicity.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

No comments: