Billie Myers

Universal Records, 2000

REVIEW BY: Duke Egbert


The record business hates artists that they can't quite cubbyhole. British pop/rock/jazz artist Billie Myers is a good example; she first hit the US in 1998 with her hit "Kiss The Rain", but since then has managed little more than a few songs on bad American television, a Lilith Fair gig in '98, a gold record, and no record company. Apparently, Myers recently parted company with her label, leaving my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Vertigo - her 2000 follow-up to debut Growing Pains - in limbo.

All I can say is what a damned shame.

Vertigo is a tight, clean, upbeat CD, one of the most infectious CDs I've heard this year. (Had I gotten this before 2001 rolled around, I suspect it would have made my top ten list last year). Myers' powerful, fluid, flexible voice, reminding me of a cross between Amanda Marshall and Taylor Dayne, is surprisingly versatile, slipping from rock to pop to dance to ballad sinuously. Myers makes it look easy. Pretty good for someone who didn't intend to be a musician and was discovered in a London dance club. (A producer asked her if she could sing as well as she danced. Surprise.)

This album has more hooks than Babe Winkleman's tackle box, but there are a few specific highlights that I have to mention. The Caribbean-tinged "Roll Over Beethoven" is a viciously funny slam on a lover who takes themselves way too seriously. "Should I Call You Jesus?" handles the inflammatory subject of religion with gritty idealism and an elegant, driving melody. "Am I Here Yet? (Return To Sender)" is thought-provoking, cynically hopeful (no, this is NOT a contradiction) view of the future and how we can handle it.

I have to, however, reserve special praise for "Flexible". I'm not sure what this song is about; I can't tell. Maybe a crossdresser? Maybe a girl who thinks she's James Bond? Maybe something else? Who CARES, I tell you; if there's ever a class on how to write the perfect "turn UP the stereo and roll down the windows" song, this will be on the syllabus. (Along with Tom Petty's "Runnin' Down A Dream", if you're curious.) Special bonus points for the gratuitous Bond-theme horn riff.

Go now. Find this CD. It won't last in limbo long since Myers has ditched Universal; don't make the mistake of not getting a good case of Vertigo.

Rating: A

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© 2001 Duke Egbert and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Universal Records, and is used for informational purposes only.