See It Through My Eyes
Unity Entertainment, 1997
REVIEW BY: Duke Egbert
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 04/17/2000
Occasionally, when an artist breaks out into the big time, a record company releases work from their past. Even more occasionally, it's good. It's more likely, however, the work is, shall we say, substandard. It's a crapshoot where the odds are stacked against you.
Because of this, I didn't pick up Meredith Brooks' first CD, See It Through My Eyes, until I found it used and tres cheap. Despite the fact I'm a big fan of both her Blurring The Edges and Deconstruction CDs, I was, frankly, a touch nervous about this one. And guess what, gang? I was right to be nervous. Meredith, I love you, but this is frankly awful .
Despite its 1997 release date, these songs were originally recorded in 1984 by a much younger and much less skilled Brooks, and it shows. Boy, does it show. The entire album feels like a Missing Persons or Scandal knockoff, complete with shallow power ballads and drum machines. At any moment, I expect to hear Debbie Gibson's vocals kick in rather than Brooks', and in fact her delivery is immature enough compared to her nineties work you begin to notice she sounds like Debbie Gibson in places.
Perhaps the most painful element is that Brooks' guitar playing is still good through this morass of early MTV cliches -- when you can hear it, which isn't often. But the songs are so bad it's almost impossible to appreciate it. There are occasionally moments where Brooks' attitude and style shows up for a moment, but they're few and far between. Most of the time, this is just a reminder of why it sucked to be a female rocker in the eighties. This album probably isn't even Brooks' fault. I couldn't find any information anywhere on it, but I suspect these babies are demo tapes that someone decided to make a buck off of.
There are a couple of barely-acceptable tracks. "Pick It Up" and "The Look" are occasionally interesting, as straight-ahead as rock gets under these circumstances. "Video Idol" has a mildly hooky melody and keyboard line. But mostly, See It Through My Eyes is a trite collection of really bad eighties cliches, a stale confection of bad cheese and boring filling. It's a record company (and remember, all A&R men must die) sucking off an artist's current success like some sort of giant, bloated, timetraveling leech.
Meredith Brooks deserved better than this, and eventually (some 15 years later) she'd get it. However, unless you have some insane desire to torture yourself, avoid See It Through My Eyes like the plague.