Saturday, December 15, 2012

Kat Parsons - Oh! EP

I've slowly grown to be a fan of pop music, especially female singers who eschew electronic excess, pitch correction and the incessant note trill warbling that permeates the voices of female contestants on American Idol.  Give me some nice hummable tunes with a playful female voice and I'm hooked.
Kat Parsons must have been reading my mind when she produced her five track EP Oh!.  She makes female pop a soothing and fun experience.  Kat reminds me of Colbie Caillat and the first song on the EP, "Love Changes Everything", reminds me of Caillat's "One Fine Wire."  It is catchy, witty, pleasant and optimistic.  In other words, a whole lot of fun and, unlike the slew of female pop singers gracing network television, Parsons writes her own material.

Music has permeated Kat's life since the day of her Austrian birth.  Her father was an opera singer with the Vienna State Opera.  Her mother was a professional musician.  Her aunts were involved in folk rock music in the United States and, when Kat was very young, Kat and her family moved to Maryland.  Parsons first debuted as a solo artist in 1999. 

While "Love Changes Everything" is a fun and upbeat pop tune, "Oh" is a pop love ballad. There is circumstantial evidence that it arose from a personal experience as the lyrics start "I took the keys and drove to Harrisburg".  The song displays Parsons' classically trained piano skills, is infused with introspective emotions and is written around the chorus vocal hook -

Oh!, It's so lovely when you smile

I glow, in your presence all the while

Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh!

Kat merges genres in "What's Wrong?" to create a reggae pop tune. A heart beat of guitar upstrokes merges with a better vocal range than that of most Rastafarians.  To top it off the chorus is littered with great harmonies.  Parsons melodically asks "What's wrong?", but from what I hear I am ready to respond "nothing, nothing at all."    

"Let's Not Be Scared" is an absolutely theatrical, insipid and syrupy piano love ballad.  If it had been the lead track on the EP I might not have paid heed to the EP at all.  However, upon reflection, Parsons has a degree in theatre from Northwestern University and "Let's Not Be Scared" is the sort of tune you might expect in an Andrew Lloyd Webber production, not on a pop EP.  If Kat chose to include the track on the EP to show her ability to write songs for musical theatre, she has succeeded in displaying that talent.

The final piece is a pop song with a mid-70's vibe - the type of thing you would have heard alongside The Hues Corporation's "Don't Rock The Boat" back in 1974.  The name of the cut is just how the EP left me and, may leave you, "Happy." 

-  Old School

“Love Changes Everything”

“What’s Wrong?”

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