Album Review: White Turns Blue by Maria Mena

Album Name: White Turns Blue
Artist: Maria Mena
Year/Label: 2004 / Independent

[Buy at Amazon]

Review by Amy Lotsberg Producer of Collected Sounds

I was aware of Maria Mena and her release of her debut CD, “White Turns Blue” for some time because of a series of press releases I’d received. But I just assumed she was another pop tart. No disrespect to her, but it looked to me like that’s the way they were marketing her. You know the deal, pretty, but no voice to speak of and certainly no writing of her own material. But when one of the emails said that she’d be on Letterman that evening, I decided to tune in.

I have to say, I was intrigued more than anything. My first thought was, though stunningly beautiful, she looked a little out of place, sort of fidgety and flighty. Her voice was odd, I couldn’t tell if she was on key or not nor could I tell what the key was. But I realize now that this was due to the song she (or the record company) chose. It would not have been my choice for a first release. It’s sort of talky and has a lot of that cramasmanywordsintoonephraseasyoucan-thing that Alanis Morrisette does so often (which is why she is not allowed to be played in my home when my husband is around). I’m afraid many people may write her off as a non-singer with that being the first thing people hear of her. I would have released a nice pop or rock tune, getting everyone to fall in love with her and then made “You’re the Only One” a very quick follow up. But I digress, no one asked me, and I don’t run a record company.

But at the very least, the performance captivated me and made me interested in learning more about her. I found out that she does indeed write her own music, so I was willing to give her a listen for review.

I’ve received the CD and must say I am very pleasantly surprised. The song she sang on Letterman is actually a really cute song. If you can get over the talking a mile a minute thing, it’s quite refreshing. It’s sweet.

The rest of the CD gets even better. By the “Fragile (Free)” you are able to tell that she actually does have a very nice voice and hits all the notes (something not exactly apparent on the Letterman performance, but that may have been due to nerves as well as the song). I’d say her voice could be described as “cute”. She reminds me of Marie Frank at times (whom I love). But she also has a smooth jazzy feel to her vocals.

The music is pop, but there’s a little bit of an edge to it. This is especially apparent on “Your Glasses” and “Take You With Me”, which are more alt.rock than the others and “Your Glasses” is probably my favorite track.

“Lose Control” is fantastic. It’s a peppy little piano ditty that really shows her vocal ability. Too bad it clocks in at just under 3 minutes, I wish it were longer.

“Sorry” is heartbreakingly beautiful. So touching.

In all the lyrics are a tad “young” for my taste (but I’m 20 years older than her..oh god, can that be?). It seems like she’s singing about high school girl woes, so she ought to be big with that crowd. But she is only 18 and I’m guessing some of these songs were written when she was even younger.

I like this CD, and have been listening to it a lot. But I’m looking forward to her growing as a songwriter and hearing some of her future work. If she’s this good at 18, she’ll be absolutely amazing as she matures. Maria Mena has a good strong musical future.

Posted on August 11, 2004

Track Listing
1. You’re the Only One
2. Fragile (Free)
3. Just A Little Bit
4. Blame It On Me
5. My Lullaby
6. Take You with Me
7. What’s Another Day
8. Lose Control
9. Shadow
10. Your Glasses
11. Sorry
12. A Few Small Bruises

[Maria Mena Official Site]

Comments:

Rating: 5 Stars
Comment: though she did cram as many words as she can in one quick sentence, she has a certain appeal to her that makes you like her music and the message that she sends with her songs.
name: andilynne on Monday, September 12, 2005

Rating: 5 Stars
Comment: i LUV her music
name: STACEY on Friday, September 24, 2004

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