Any Girl I Want

Diane Wegner

Independent release, 2000

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 12/08/2000

What would happen if Jewel, the Indigo Girls and Melissa Etheridge got together and formed a band?

I think I got a glimpse of that team when I listened to ...Any Girl I Want from Minneapolis-based folk-rocker Diane Wegner. (Her vocal style had me thinking for a while that I was listening to Jewel, only this had more of a rock edge at times.) And while the overall pattern of her music is a tad uneven (mostly due to the switching between electric and acoustic guitar orientation), there is more than just a hint of promise in this work.

Wegner has been described by the press as "a passionate feminist humanist" -- and, I'm sorry, but I don't have a clue what the hell this is supposed to mean. What I know is that Wegner writes songs that have the ability to make the listener think, even if their viewpoint is different from that of Wegner's.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Case in point: "The Bible Tells Me So," a song which, on one side, could be a pro-choice anthem which mocks the religious right for their narrow-mindedness. (Save your angry e-mails; I was once on that side of the fence.) But the slant does not necessarily have to be on the abortion viewpoint; one way I heard this song was a criticism, again of the religious right, for refusing to accept any beliefs or personal creeds which they didn't subscribe to, and how their own beliefs could be turned on them. Now that we've opened up a debate "can of worms" that could fill several episodes of "Meet The Press," we'll move on.

Wegner proves that she can pull on the heartstrings as well as push the listener's hot buttons, as she does on the album's closer "Henry," a message of love to a deceased relative (grandfather?). It's a touching tribute that should make parents go home and hug their children that much tighter. On a slightly related tangent, "Paper Flowers" tells the tale of lost love and how a simple gift becomes a painful reminder of what once was.

Not everything on ...Any Girl I Want is this powerful, though. It sometimes feels that when Wegner switches focus from acoustic guitar to a more rock-oriented beat, she loses her equillibrium briefly. This is noted on the shift between the album's title track opener and "The Way You Love Me".

Still, Wegner has more hits than misses, and even though tracks like "Private Pain," "What Went Wrong?" and "No One Like Me" have great promise, I get the feeling that Wegner is still growing into her shoes as a songwriter, and her best work still lies ahead of her. With a little more time and seasoning, she could well eclipse any of the three artists mentioned at the start of this review.

...Any Girl I Want is an impressive outing, stumbles and all, and should be a sign of things to come from Wegner.

Rating: B-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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