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Saturday, August 20, 2005

Everything You Know Now

By now, I probably shouldn't be surprised. While overstated, over-the-top records hog all the attention, subtle and sophisticated records tend to go ignored. I saw it happen last year with A Girl Called Eddy's debut and Simon Joyner's masterful Lost With The Lights On, the year before that to Janet Bean and Jolie Holland and this year it's happening again, to Inara George's All Rise. It's understandable, I suppose: more people have an easier time rallying behind the Funerals and Elephants of the world. It seems to me that quite a few people make the mistake of thinking that because an album is soft-spoken it doesn't have anything to say. But, you and I know that's not true. On my watch, at least some of those quieter albums are guaranteed to get their turn. Today, the spotlight belongs to Ms. George.

Inara George - "Fools In Love"

This Joe Jackson cover opens with a perfectly obvious truth posed as a question: "Fools in love, are there any other kinds of lovers?" From there, Inara remodels the new wave of the original into a gentle, almost mournful acoustic guitar lullaby for lovers. Her voice sounds like she knows the territory all too well. The chorus is a dizzying delight, like a merry-go-round, only without the merriness; in fact, it's a powerful metaphor for the aimlessness of falling in love, again.

Inara George - "Good To Me"

"Good To Me" is one of the more upbeat songs on All Rise, helped along by another remarkable chorus, which begins like this: "There hasn't been a time that I have wished I wasn't here with you". Then she plays some interesting tricks: the song is written from the perspective of someone who has been told they "have a face only a mother could love", perhaps more than once. It's not an ugly girls rise up anthem though; instead, the narrator has fallen in love with someone whose eyes are good to her, a man who can see in her what her mother sees. It's an unusual concept, for sure, but it makes its point confidently: true love certainly isn't skin deep.

I've no doubt that music listeners capable of focusing a little more intently on whatever they're listening to, as opposed to simply aurally gobbling up monster riffs and painfully in-your-face hooks, will find much to enjoy over the course of All Rise. To those people, I heartily recommend the album, which is probably readily available from your local record store or from a cool online merchant like CD Baby. To find out more about Ms. George, there's always her website, of course.

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