[28 June 2013]
PopMatters Associate Music Editor
Emi Meyer is about as mainstream as you can come in the pop realm. Born in Japan, but raised in America, the 26-year-old indie J-pop star (she’s had some success in the country she was born in) makes music that fits squarely in the center of the radio dial. Which is to say there’s not much of a sense of adventure or melody in many of her songs on her latest album, Galaxy’s Skirt. How much you like it may depend on how much you like the acts that the Los Angeles studio musicians who have helped her out on this collection of 10 songs have worked with before: John Mayer, Sheryl Crow and Alanis Morissette. That’s either a commendation or a warning, depending on your point of view, and I tend to lean heavily on the latter side of the fence. Still, Galaxy’s Skirt does boast the odd hummable, bubblegummy kind of tune. The final song “What Would You Say” might be the best of the bunch, as it sounds kind of Randy Newman-esque and the title track, a piano ballad which opens the disc, has a melancholic Vanessa Carlton kind of thing going for it.
However, it’s what’s jammed in between – the meat in the sandwich, so to speak – that you might have more trouble digesting. Galaxy’s Skirt is choc-a-bloc with so many gooey pop songs that don’t really go anywhere that parts of the thing become largely forgettable, save for the upbeat “Doin’ Great”, “Shine On”, which feels vaguely Steely Dan-ish circa Katy Lied, and, to some extent, “Energy”, because it has a late night lounge vibe, making it feel a little different from the rest of the material. Not helping Meyer’s cause much is the lyric sheet, which features laughable, banal tripe that confessional teenage girls might scribble in their diaries. Here’s a sample: “You can take my clothes if you want to / They’ll make someone look neat / You can have my dog if you want too / He’ll show you loyalty.” Jesus wept. Granted, Meyer has an undeniably soulful voice that is quite beautiful. It’s just too bad that on Galaxy’s Skirt, that voice has very little to really work with. If you like your music to be as disposable as possible, you’ll get something out of Galaxy’s Skirt. Everyone else, you should really point your rocket ships into another section of the pop music universe as there’s not much to hear here.