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We first saw Nerina Pallot supporting Bryan Adams at the M.E.N Arena in Manchester. She came on stage and seemed really nervous (not surprisingly) - not at all comfortable talking to the crowd.
Then she started singing.
Nerina's voice, and her songs are beautiful. I found myself scribbling down her name so I wouldn't forget it. I forgot all about her for a few weeks, and then I found myself humming one of her songs ('If I know you' - the first track on this album). I decided that if the song had stuck in my head it must be worth buying the album. Which turned out to be a fantastic decision.
Nerina writes what I can only describe as pop songs because of the melodies she uses, but there is a rawness, a folk influence, a rock influence, a soul influence... there are many layers and once you see that her background is made up of many cultures it all becomes clear.
Nerina is more than just a talented musician (she plays guitars, pianos, drums...), her lyrics are also magnificent - sometimes amusing, always captivating, and often very clever.
Nerina's style has evolved to be more pop focussed on her later albums, but this one is possibly my favourite. I'd tell anybody who likes singer - songwriters to give it a go.
One of my favourite artists around today.
OK, so being the sad music muppet I am, I like to play a game on Amazon. It's called, "how much extra money can I persuade myself to spend on music". It goes like this - I bring up the details for a CD I really like, see what others who bought the same CD also bought, and then listen to some of the samples (or find MP3s). This is how I discovered Nerina Pallot, and her brilliant debut album "Dear Frustrated Superstar". The background biography bit - Nerina (a British lass) discovered a love and ability for the piano at a young age. For a while she had a "proper job" at Mute records, but her love of music pushed her into the recording studio, and "Dear Frustrated Superstar" was born. The CD was recorded during 2000, at the studios of former "Lemon Tree" Jeremy Stacey. OK, now the tricky bit - what sort of music is it? As is so often the case with the music I review (not that I'm hinting for you to read my other opinions - much) she is hard to categorise. But, as her biography says, she doesn't care if her music is a particular style. She writes what she likes - what matters to her is that the music has "heart". So, onto the important stuff - the music. The album opens somewhat moodily with "If I Know You", giving you just a little taste of what's to come. The second track "Patience" was the first single from the album. This is a great pop song, with a somewhat retro feel. I find this a really uplifting, catchy, sing-along number. This was the first track of Nerina's I heard, and I was instantly hooked. Beware though - after listening you may be humming it for days! It's followed by "Someday Soon", another catchy number, although not quite as bouncy as it's predecessor. Again, quite a retro feel, as is true with the following song, "Watch Out Billie". "Daily Bread" has a kind of Joni Mitchell feel to it. "Rainbow" has a slightly darker edge to it - always appealing in my view! "Alien" is single number 2, and was released in November 2001. You can check out a full length version of the video at Nerina's homepage, www.nerinapallot.co.uk. This is another excellent pop song, and really deserved to be more of a hit than it evidently was. "Jump" revisits familiar songwriting territory - the bad relationship choice. The lyrics are very clever - they conjure up both familiarity and amusement for me! "Very Good Sir" is not a bad track, but is perhaps my least favourite on the album - it's OK, but it just doesn't sparkle for me. It's followed by the title track "Dear Frustrated Superstar", which begins almost like a lullaby, with a sort of 'twinkly' introduction. The music has a mellow, chillout vibe. Things liven up once again with "blood is Blood" - the style of the opening piano really reminds me of Tori Amos, but then it turns into a bouncy pop song. "God" fades in with a funky drumbeat and a haunting vocal from Nerina. Once again, we see a darker side of Nerina here, yet the music loses no beauty - in fact, I like it best this way! "My Last Tango" - ahh, piano and strings opening - not really sure what to expect... a mellow number with a hint of jazz. It's followed by the very last, not-so-hidden track "Daphne and Apollo", a piano, guitar and vocal track. Not exactly a big finish, but very nice nonetheless. All in all, this is an excellent debut album - it is pop music for grown ups. It is bouncy and fun, but has a maturity to it too. Highly recommended! No samples on Amazon, unfortunately, but you can try some stuff out at her website (address below). If you like it, they have it for £10.99 in our
local MVC, but is only £11.99 on Amazon. If you've heard it, I'd love to know what you think! Factual information taken from biography at www.nerinapallot.co.uk
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 If I Know You - Gavyn Wright, London Session Orchestra, Nerina Pallot
3 Someday Soon
4 Watch Out Billie
5 Daily Bread
9 Very Good Sir
10 Dear Frustrated Superstar
11 Blood Is Blood
12 God - Gavyn Wright, London Session Orchestra, Nerina Pallot
13 My Last Tango - Gavyn Wright, London Session Orchestra, Nerina Pallot
14 Daphne And Apollo