Thursday, January 24, 2013

Review - Heather Miller - Send Me An Angel

I liked the last song so much that I bought the single years after giving away the CD. Is this artist even still around? It seems to me that this was a case of a rockier songwriter who management tried to fit into a glossier, radio-friendly, soulful style.

For me, this album is quite a mixed bag. To begin with, Heather Miller has a solid, strong voice that is capable of great emotion. For the majority of the album, however, she slips into an urban style (which I find whiney) that makes her difficult to distinguish from the mass of singers who also use this style. Even so, her voice is never thin and she exerts great vocal control. Miller co-wrote almost every song on the album, songs which demonstrate her mastery of the contemporary pop/urban genre. The songs are mostly straight-forward, as pop songs should be, with some really good melodies to stick in yer craw. For example, "If She Could See", a song about a lost friend, has a great uneven chorus melody and the radio single "We Will See Him" has the requisite singable anthemic chorus. The majority of the songs are geared for MOR radio play, which doesn't give it a lot of credence in my book, but again if I heard these songs on the radio, they are of high enough song-writing quality that they would at least catch my ear. For me, the two strongest songs are where Miller proves that she can rock. "On His Way Home" combines her urban style with an aggressive rock groove that grabs the body and demands a response. Her voice really shines on this song, allowing her to open up and show a broad range of expressiveness. The other ripper is the album closer, "Tell Me Why" which opens softly, with a resigned Miller asking "Tell me why does a good man die?" before the pleading chorus literally ignites in a blaze of guitars. If only the entire album was like these two songs it would, well, it wouldn't sell as many copies as it probably would in it's current state. Lyrically the album searches spiritual issues with a great deal of maturity and honesty. Given that the album is co-produced (and some songs co-written) by a member of DC Talk, this should come as no surprise. Overall, it's a strong album that should find a welcome home for fans of urban contemporary pop.

This review first appeared in WhatzUp, June 2000.

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