Jypsi: Jypsi

Juli Thanki

Don't overlook this album just because the band has a stupid name and none of the members are old enough to rent a car.



Label: Arista Nashville
US Release Date: 2008-05-27
UK Release Date: Unavailable
Internet release date: 2008-04-08

With their fresh-faced good looks and catchy pop hooks, Jypsi is poised to catapult to commercial country stardom. At first glance, this collection of toothsome youngsters can easily be confused for some of those other mixed-gender pop-country bands out there. But unlike most of those bands (Little Big Town and Lady Antebellum, I'm looking in your schlocky direction), Jypsi is actually quite talented. The four siblings (Lillie Mae, Amber-Dawn, Scarlett, and Frank) have been performing together for over a decade, quite a feat considering that the youngest of the bunch is only 16.

Jypsi begins with "Now That's All Right With Me", an asinine but infectious number that has the potential to be a chart climber as well as a fixture on your "Guilty Pleasure" playlist. It seems that "asinine, but infectious" are the words of the day on this record, because following "Now That's All Right With Me" is "Love Is a Drug": again, wholeheartedly dumb, but catchy, and really, isn't that the purpose of pop music in the first place? After this are two songs that sound exactly alike, "I Don't Love You Like That" and "You Don't Know What Real Love Is". Both feature tight Wreckers-ish harmonies, but are otherwise musically boring and lyrically hamfisted.

There are several missteps on this album, though none more egregious than the absolutely abysmal cover of "House of the Rising Sun", a classic that's near-impossible to ruin. But Jypsi finds a way, thanks to lead singer Lillie Mae, who seems uncomfortable with the lyrics; technically her singing is very nice, but she doesn’t put any emotion into a song that calls for nearly inhuman amounts of pathos. Another one that should have been left off the record is "I Do What I Want", a song that shoots for sassy girl power but lands on sheer obnoxiousness: "I might look like a pretty little kitty / But I'm a wildcat inside / I may purr and let you pet / But remember that I bite." It sounds like bad SheDaisy, and by "bad SheDaisy", I mean "worse SheDaisy".

The underused Frank is trotted out for token religious number "Stray Dogs and Alley Cats", then again relegated to harmonizing and playing rhythm guitar. On the other hand, lyrics like these are damn near intolerable, no matter who's singing them: "I don't expect to sit at God's right hand / But I could empty Heaven's garbage cans / Oh, Lord, hope there's room on those golden streets / For stray dogs and alley cats like me." Haven't the kids of Jypsi seen All Dogs Go to Heaven? Of course there's room! Then again, the songwriter of this one might have to spend an extra couple days in Purgatory.

The highlight of the album is "Halfway Home Cafe", a song in the vein of Porter Wagoner's "My Many Hurried Southern Trips". Here, a waitress observes various down on their luck folks, including a just-released prisoner and a just-dumped mistress. Lillie Mae's vocals on this track fit right in with the world-weariness of the song, and the siblings chime in with some solid playing. Overall, Jypsi could've used a few more like this and a few less like "I Do What I Want".

The album ends with a bang on "Kandi Kitchen", a high-speed instrumental number featuring some of the best pickin' commercial country music has seen since the Dixie Chicks took a ride on their sin wagon. While some of their songs are just the same derivative mess spewed out by the pop country industry, "Kandi Kitchen" separates Jypsi from their competition. Overall, this is a mixed debut from a remarkably young group that we're sure to hear a lot of in the near future.


In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

Keep reading... Show less

Pauline Black may be called the Queen of Ska by some, but she insists she's not the only one, as Two-Tone legends the Selecter celebrate another stellar album in a career full of them.

Being commonly hailed as the "Queen" of a genre of music is no mean feat, but for Pauline Black, singer/songwriter of Two-Tone legends the Selecter and universally recognised "Queen of Ska", it is something she seems to take in her stride. "People can call you whatever they like," she tells PopMatters, "so I suppose it's better that they call you something really good!"

Keep reading... Show less

Morrison's prose is so engaging and welcoming that it's easy to miss the irreconcilable ambiguities that are set forth in her prose as ineluctable convictions.

It's a common enough gambit in science fiction. Humans come across a race of aliens that appear to be entirely alike and yet one group of said aliens subordinates the other, visiting violence upon their persons, denigrating them openly and without social or legal consequence, humiliating them at every turn. The humans inquire why certain of the aliens are subjected to such degradation when there are no discernible differences among the entire race of aliens, at least from the human point of view. The aliens then explain that the subordinated group all share some minor trait (say the left nostril is oh-so-slightly larger than the right while the "superior" group all have slightly enlarged right nostrils)—something thatm from the human vantage pointm is utterly ridiculous. This minor difference not only explains but, for the alien understanding, justifies the inequitable treatment, even the enslavement of the subordinate group. And there you have the quandary of Otherness in a nutshell.

Keep reading... Show less

A 1996 classic, Shawn Colvin's album of mature pop is also one of best break-up albums, comparable lyrically and musically to Joni Mitchell's Hejira and Bob Dylan's Blood on the Tracks.

When pop-folksinger Shawn Colvin released A Few Small Repairs in 1996, the music world was ripe for an album of sharp, catchy songs by a female singer-songwriter. Lilith Fair, the tour for women in the music, would gross $16 million in 1997. Colvin would be a main stage artist in all three years of the tour, playing alongside Liz Phair, Suzanne Vega, Sheryl Crow, Sarah McLachlan, Meshell Ndegeocello, Joan Osborne, Lisa Loeb, Erykah Badu, and many others. Strong female artists were not only making great music (when were they not?) but also having bold success. Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill preceded Colvin's fourth recording by just 16 months.

Keep reading... Show less

Frank Miller locates our tragedy and warps it into his own brutal beauty.

In terms of continuity, the so-called promotion of this entry as Miller's “third" in the series is deceptively cryptic. Miller's mid-'80s limited series The Dark Knight Returns (or DKR) is a “Top 5 All-Time" graphic novel, if not easily “Top 3". His intertextual and metatextual themes resonated then as they do now, a reason this source material was “go to" for Christopher Nolan when he resurrected the franchise for Warner Bros. in the mid-00s. The sheer iconicity of DKR posits a seminal work in the artist's canon, which shares company with the likes of Sin City, 300, and an influential run on Daredevil, to name a few.

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.