Little Songs

CD Cover David Usher

Review by Michael O'Donahue

Little Songs finds Dave in a pensive mood, ruminating about love gone bitter, his own Dark Side and being abandoned by God to the accompaniment of acoustic guitar, drum machine and the odd bit of cello. Vocally, Usher shows a lot more restraint than he's known for with Moist -- no histrionics! -- and the songs, surprisingly, don't sound so calculated for radio play. Unfortunately, they still sound calculated -- only now the plan is to present Usher as a serious artiste, with maudlin lyrics and moody arrangements and a quiet feel to let us know that Dave's Being Serious Now.

Most of the songs follow the same formula of quiet, repetitive riffs and quietly intense singing building a controlled crescendo of heartbreak and disappointment. The lack of melodic inventiveness keeps any one song from sticking out, so the songs are just not all that memorable.

The trouble with trying to show off your serious and thoughtful side tends to be that, in attempting to highlight one's depth, one is more likely to crush whatever depth may or may not exist with gloomy clichés and boring arrangements. Whenever an Artist tries too hard to make a Point, the Point short-circuits whatever interesting and creative impulses the Artist may have had in the first place. Check out John Lennon in his Singing Reporter phase if you don't believe me.

Still, it's not a bad album. It didn't send me lunging for the SKIP button like others have, but neither was I interested in hitting the REPEAT button...

First published in Drop-D Magazine on December 5, 1998

Index | Search | E-mail | Info | Copyright

Considering copying some of the images from this story?
Please read this first. Thanks.