red lights


Pedestrian faire

Nina Gordon - Bleeding Heart Graffiti
(Warner Brothers)
1 1/2 stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: Oct. 14, 2006
Nina Gordon

Review by Andy Argyrakis

The name Nina Gordon is most readily associated with Veruca Salt, the Chicago-bred alt rock powerhouse she fronted throughout the 1990s. But the turn of that decade found the singer parting ways with the group that made her famous for the solo debut Tonight and the Rest of My Life, known primarily for the title cut and "Now I Can Die." In the six years that passed between that release and the new Bleeding Heart Graffiti, Gordon has turned to writing for other artists including Fefe Dobson and Courtney Jaye. One would've hoped that extensive time in between albums would've warranted the one time local hero a creative masterpiece, but unfortunately that's nowhere near the case.

Instead the disc amounts to mostly bland, contemporary pop oriented pedestrian faire that could very well have names like Jewel or Sheryl Crow slapped on the cover (who would've probably turned in much more likeable results). But like one time alternative princess Liz Phair, Gordon has dived even deeper into sell out status and has unashamedly conformed to radio play lists with little life compared to her grunge soaked origins. "Turn On Your Radio" is a supreme example due to its sterile production, drowsy piano basis and over layered vocals, while "The Time Comes" is a mousey and miserable mellow snore. "Christmas Lights" adapts cheesy lyrical rhyming that is riddled with trite relationship-based themes over Gordon's generic vocal interpretations.

Even tougher titles like "Kiss Me Till It Bleeds" lack the extreme punch of her previous band, though it is the closest glimmer of hope throughout the entire project. Yet that good news is quickly squashed come the predictable 80s girl band redux of "Suffragette" and the unimaginative acoustic slump "Don't Let Me Down." On the whole, Gordon goes beyond redemption with this uninspired release, likely to make Veruca Salt fans long for yesterday or keep their fingers crossed she'll rejoin that band and rediscover a truly musical soul. While that's likely to be out of the question, consider picking up the girls' latest Gordon-less release IV (Sympathy For the Record Industry) for a much more aggressive and attitude filled outpouring.

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