Thursday, October 12, 2006

Platinum Weird--Make Believe (2006)

Artist-Platinum Weird
Album-Make Believe
Release Date-Sep 19, 2006
Genre/Style-Adult Alternative Pop/ Rock

Review-Before he was in the Tourists and long before he was in the Eurythmics, Dave Stewart was in Platinum Weird, a mid-'70s band that influenced Fleetwood Mac, especially vocalist Stevie Nicks who was entranced by the emotional and mysterious Erin Grace, Weird's lead singer who was in a Lindsey Buckingham/Nicks type relationship with Grace, right up til she disappeared into rock mythology. A mockumentary television special was made and then aired on VH1 right as a bunch of bogus fan sites appeared on the Net. Says right here on the back of the disc that these are Weird's lost recordings from back in 1974, but one listen to Make Believe and it's obvious this hoax isn't from the '70s and has much more to do with mashing Keane, Kelly Clarkson, and the later Eurythmics' albums together than reviving the Fleetwood Mac sound. A lot of this has to do with Erin Grace, here played by Kara DioGuardi, a strong vocalist and songwriter who has worked for Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, and plenty of the American Idol winners and finalists. DioGuardi does make an attempt to write outside of her usual style, but she's not trying to recapture the '70s at all. Instead, tracks like "Happiness" and "Goodbye My Love" sound like huge, modern Broadway-bound tunes, which makes some sense when you find out DioGuardi and Stewart first began working together for the Pussycat Dolls, thinking of them as a cabaret act rather than the dance-pop "group" the Pussycats settled on. "Piccadilly Lane" is one of the few times Make Believe sounds like it has a suitable-for-the-time Beatles hangover, but the other high points — the title track and "Picture Perfect" — are straight 21st century pop/rock with DioGuardi in full effect. The filler sounds like tracks the Eurythmics or Lohan haven't gotten to yet, with DioGuardi pouring her heart into every song, whether they fully deserve it or not. In the end, Stewart comes off as an incredibly bland eccentric for claiming this is more mysterious and wild than it is, while DioGuardi steals the show with her inspired performance. The oversold hype sours what is simply a worthwhile, professional pop effort.

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