Friday 31 May 2013

Melinda Ortner - I Wanna Be OK

Album review by

Born in California and having spent the last five years in LA honing a flourishing musical career, it's safe to say singer-songwriter Melinda Ortner has seen a lot of sunny days in her lifetime, but if you're expecting all happy-clappy sunshine, rainbows and butterflies from her 10-track debut album, 'I Wanna Be OK', you'll either be sorely disappointed or extremely happy to find this album is filled with an eclectic mixture of styles and sounds that in short, however full of sadness they may seem, are filled with the notion and prospect of hope.

Album opener 'Wait Another Day' begins with clunky percussion, a haunting string ensemble that's supported by Melinda Ortner's soulful and slightly angry vocals, contradicting the lyrics which possess an undercurrent of optimism, that towards the end of the track are echoed melodically in an Amy Lee/ Evanescence kind of style. This is followed by the title-track which continues along a different direction, mixing electronic with pop choruses that seem to serve as an autobiographical story of Ortner's career struggles and her determination to reach her dream, even if it is failed “I wanna be okay, if I lose this fight after all this time”.

Also look out for 'Caught In The Middle' which reminded me a lot of country-pop with Michelle Branch in the forefront of my mind; sassy pop meets alternative drum and bass beats from 'Jezabella'; and 'Sweet Little Lies' for a seductive, bouncy, upbeat, easy listening, trip-hop, jazzy/soul session. But, would the winning track please step forward? Yes, 'The Beauty In Me', it's you! This track is without a doubt the most unforgettable on the album, What you're looking at here is a poignant, powerful, ballad with a goth/rock twist, again very Evanescence-like. Melinda Ortner's not asking for or expecting perfection, she just wants to be OK, and if this debut album's anything to go by, she will be just fine.

Melinda Ortner's website

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