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Carly Ritter

Carly Ritter

(Vanguard; US: 27 Aug 2013)

An attempt to be taken seriously

Carly Ritter has a pleasant enough voice. Her singing won’t knock your socks off, but Ritter’s vocals have a nice burnished sheen that keeps her from sounding too sappy. Her lyrics border more on the saccharine. This may be because of the latent spiritualism behind her lyrics that turn everything from a farmer planting a seed to bigger themes such as love, life and death into something deeper than their essential existences. Her self-titled debut disc takes everything a bit too seriously in what seems to be an attempt to be taken seriously—a conceit of the young.


Ritter also takes a somewhat formal tone to the material. She sings and writes about important things, but never strongly emotes. This turns sincere feelings into something formal. This is the essence of pop, and the disc has many satisfying moments. This is especially true on songs such as “Princess of the Prairie” and “It Don’t Come Easy” which are wistful and self-consciously pretty. At its best, Ritter’s music shimmers. However when she gets heavy, the tunes cannot carry the weight.

Rating:

Steven Horowitz has a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Iowa, where he continues to teach a three-credit online course on "Rock and Roll in America". He has written for many different popular and academic publications including American Music, Paste and the Icon. Horowitz is a firm believer in Paul Goodman's neofunctional perspective on culture and that Sam Cooke was right, a change is gonna come.


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