Friday Review: Eileen Graham “One of Those Girls”
This week I am happy to review a local artist, Eileen Graham, who this year released her EP “One Of Those Girls”. Eileen performs in the Washington DC area previously with the band Noble Air but now has ventured out on her own. In fact she’ll be at Jammin Java on Saturday November 10.
“One of Those Girls” is her debut solo album containing four fresh new songs, all penned by Eileen and well worth a listen.
Eileen’s music web site describes her album as “an honest and simply done, piano-driven collection. Cozy like a cup of tea, fresh like a lemon. Produced by former My Favorite Highway lead singer, Dave Cook, each song is colored by delightful hooks and a wash of uncertainty, leaving listeners transfixed by Graham’s unforgettable blanket of a voice.”
What You’ll Notice
Unique Openings – What I noticed on first listen was that each song started with something new and fresh. There were no standard pop arrangements or rock rhythms to start the songs. I like that. The first song starts with a Beatle-esque piano progression, another with 6/8 acoustic, another with a piano chord progression underscored by a snare played with brushes and the last one starting with an urgent piano rhythm sounding like bells calling the listener to rush to see what has happened in 3/4 counterpoint time.
Well Crafted Lyrics – Each song is lyrically well-crafted to communicate clearly and effectively what the singer is feeling and wants to communicate. The themes are not shallow and Eileen has a wonderful combination of down to earth lyrics and poetic pictures that draw the listener into wanting to understand what’s going on. When in the song “Glue” Eileen sings “everyone check your vitals” I sense my fingers reaching for my wrist to check my pulse.
Distinctly Wonderful Vocals – One reviewer said, “Drawing comparisons to Feist, Imogen Heap, Ingrid Michealson, and Regina Spektor—as long as I’ve known her, her music has centered on her strong songwriting and distinct, powerful voice. Ranging from breathy tenderness to full-volume, passionate melodies, Eileen’s music conveys a deep emotional and spiritual soulfulness that is an amazing thing to experience in person.” The EP’s title cut “One of Those Girls” shows off Eileen’s range and use of falsetto which adds a sense of urgency to the question of what one really wants to be, what choices will a person make.
One of Those Girls – This song is the EP’s theme song and Eileen’s most creatively ambitious. She puts her vocal range to the test. But it’s not for show but her wonderful voice drives the song’s challenge to lofty heights. She leaves you no option of choice once she lays out the scenarios. What will you do? Who and what do you want to be. The song includes some nice background vocals for texture and guitar backup. Since the song has no bridge I believe One of Those Girls is waiting for some creative orchestral arrangement to bring an added dimension so it can reach its full potential.
Trouble – One of my favorite songs on the EP, I love the acoustic intro that sounds like cut time but then evolves into 6/8. Before you know it you’re hooked on the tune with ooo oh ooo’s and complimentary high register piano between the verses. And soon your crooning along with the catchy chorus. Eileen does a great job describing the classic bad boy attraction that girls can have playfully ending the chorus with “But trouble I don’t mind if trouble is you!”
I Was Wrong – I don’t think I have ever heard this kind of theme handled so well. The singer describes how she was deceived into thinking that everything was going well in a relationship. But she realizes that things were not as they seemed, things were not “good”. When she sings “But I was wrong, I was wrong wasn’t I” I feel the confusion, the disappointment. Musically the pre-chorus echoes the lament leading to a surprise falsetto… “Call me misguided” then returning back to the “I was wrong” lament… very effective and memorable. Every time I hear it I seem to want to gaze deeper into the singer thoughts. She admits to being wrong but each time I wonder if she feels a bit hoodwinked. Weren’t her intentions good? Why must she take all the blame? A very nicely crafted song.
Glue – Love the way this song starts with what I described earlier as bells urgently calling us like the distant sound of a fire alarm beckoning us to come and see what is happening. This is my daughter Sasha’s favorite song on the EP. The song carries with it a strong lament, something is lost, something that held an important part of life together. Eileen’s bio says that “spirited heartache drives this singer-songwriter’s soul-baring.” Never more true than in this song. Again her pre-chorus stirs our hearts in preparation for the refrain. “We fear, we fear, I fear, I fear” The author bares her soul and we are riveted. “Was she our glue alone. out of this room and off of this mountain.” Powerful stuff, not your normal pop song offering methinks. A beautifully composed guitar part leads us into the bridge where the question “why” though not spoken is asked. I keep hearing overtones of slavic melodies in minor key washing over the song making the lament stronger and beautiful. Yes this is a lament but the beauty in the midst of tragedy seems to shine forth.
Present & Future
Please support this emerging artist by purchasing her mp3’s at iTunes or on Amazon. I bought the CD and have also downloaded the songs onto my Kindle Fire. At under $4 you have little to lose and so much to gain.
Just announced Eileen will be performing on Saturday November 10 at Jammin’ Java’s. I’ll be there! You should be there too!
INFO Link: Eileen’s FB Music
I really think she would be an excellent addition to one of the We are the 9 shows in the area.
Finally I would love to hear some complementary fun, footloose and free songs. I’m sure she’s written some. I’d love to see how they would come out. She’s quite a talent so they would not be brainless pieces of fluff but songs of delight in genuine relationships and in God’s creation. Also there are some covers that she would do fabulously on. Looking forward to catching her live soon to see what she’s up to musically since the EP was released.