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Heather Edwards “Go With The Flow”

04 Aug, 2009 Michael Morgan

heatheredwards_go-with-the-flowIdentity, it’s what performance artists strive for in the creation and delivery of their work. The sound and style of music, and the message that the artist is conveying are all wrapped up into a package for the listener. On Heather Edward’s latest release, Go With The Flow, we discover the artist’s multiple dimensions. A) She is a composer. B) She is a singer/songwriter. And C) She is a musician. She shines at A and C and glimmers at B.  The deluge of sound and song from Go With The Flow demonstrates her as a jack-of-all-trades.

With each track on this record you construct an answer to the question of just exactly who is Heather Edwards. Based on these songs it is clear that she is first and foremost a composer whose passion for writing and orchestrating music exceeds her ability to sing and write lyrics. When she does try these latter endeavors she doesn’t come close to what she can create at the piano and direct in a composition as a whole. On the song “You,” The lyrics are somewhat cliché – “You. You are my bliss and I love when you kiss me all over.”  It’s a love song, with a cool beat and rock sound. The tune is driven by the guitar and synths, enhancing the song’s unremarkable quality.  The song abruptly ends and could’ve used a bridge to redeem itself. Other songs on the record which demonstrate Heather Edwards the singer/songwriter are the title track “Go With The Flow” whose hip-hop beats and violin flourishes are engaging; in addition to the added touches of samples (the “chu-chu” sample was fairly catchy).  “Won my boyfriend on eBay” was a head-scratcher. I didn’t quite get it. Maybe it’s because I’m a guy (or just a twit) Is it a statement about how technology rules our lives so much so that we can even find love for a fee through websites online? Perhaps. Even though the topic and lyrics were somewhat clever I didn’t think the song itself stood up on its own.  Then there is the existential “Song About Nothing.” The melody on this song is quite beautiful and simple, but the words have little to be desired. It seems like the writer couldn’t think of anything to say so slapped some words together. It doesn’t really work for me. I would’ve left the song without lyrics and kept it at that. The flow of guitars and piano work well enough on their own. Perhaps the hippest song with lyrics was “I’ve Decided.”. Easily the most pop radio-ready track on the album the song’s frank lyrics and in-your-face quality strike me as both appealing and funky.  Heather’s voice on this track reminds me of Suzanne Vega’s voice because of its fragile and honest tone; it both comforts and soothes. The beat and rhythms are familiar, reminiscent of that Swedish pop song “The Sign” (Ace of Base) minus the bubblegum optimism and naïveté. The Middle Eastern sounding synthesizers really worked well in the song giving it exotic tinges. Although I found the lyrics a bit too preachy in parts, particularly the bridge of the song”feeling and healing it’s all about believing…communicate illuminate take control of your  fate…”

The tracks that lacked lyrics on the album were the stronger ones overall. This is where the artists’ composing and arranging talents shone through. Many of these songs I could envision on movie soundtracks.  “Lavender Blues” could easily pass as a backdrop for a sequence of scenes in a romantic movie where two characters are rediscovering the lives they once had, walking together on the beach, hand in hand while the wind pushes them toward the sands…the scene shifts to a bedroom where they make passionate love together. The music conjures up all of this without words and a simple arrangement of piano progressions. “Flash of Red (Here Comes Mother)” is another perfect composition for the big screen or made-for-TV movie. The magic and energetic sonic lines, accompanied by the piano, have a feel-good kind of pounding to it. This is the kind of music of which racing scenes are made! 

The many dimensions of Heather Edwards pierce through Go With The Flow: singer/songwriter, composer and musician. This works in the artists favor but in some ways is what keeps this album from really being a great one. With the musical oscillations from songs with lyrics to instrumental interludes, I felt like I was being tossed left and right throughout the album. The album is really a collage of the artist’s talents, but this disrupts the natural flow of material in the album. One way to address this disjointedness would be to divide the album up into two parts: Side one is pop songs and side two as instrumental works. Go With The Flow showcases Heather Edwards many faces and allows listeners to see how an artist can stretch their creativity across the musical spectrum in one full swoop. Not an easy task but kudos to Heather for a best effort!

 

Reviewed By Mike Morgan