Jonathan Cavier – Blue Room
Jonathan Cavier shows that he has a lot of potential. He’s a good songwriter. I don’t think anyone can argue about that fact. His choose musical style has a lot of draw to it, landing very much in the mainstream. The only real problems with this album are more about the finished product than they are about the songs (at least for the most part). There are some moments where the vocals seem a bit less than great in terms of tonal quality. Also some of the production is a bit on the flat side. Of course, the production might be the problem with the vocals, too.
The song construction on the opening title track is good. The sound seems a bit flat in terms of production, though. Add in the fact that the vocal tone is a bit less than great, and this creates for a well-built song that doesn’t work as well as it should. The production and vocal tone both work better on the second song, “When You Come Around.” It has a balladic sound. The hooks are especially effective.
The quality improved from the first song to the second. That trend continues with the third (“Hollywood”). It is a catchy pop rock tune that works really well. It’s the first song where I really like the vocals, too. The disc keeps getting better. “Phoenix” has an AOR rock vibe that works really well. The problems that were heard early on this set really don’t seem to plague the song at all.
Continuing the upward trend in terms of quality, the production on “Far Away” is probably better than anything to this point. So is the singing. Overall, this classic rock ballad styled piece is exceptional. There is almost a folk music feeling to “I Believe.” It has a classic and timeless quality to it. It is perhaps the strongest traditional song here. It does tend to suffer just a bit on the production, though.
The vocals don’t work as well on “Somebody Like You.” Beyond that, the piece seems to wander a bit, fighting to find direction a little. It has some decent hooks on the chorus, though. It’s just not one of the better cuts here. Another highlight of the set, at its core “Right Place” is a dramatic mainstream pop rock song. It has one of the most emotional and powerful vocal performances of the disc.
“Someday” has more of an adult contemporary feeling built into it. It’s energized and the strings (or are they keyboards?) add something. It’s one of the better songs here. I’m not sure about the wisdom of closing the album with an instrumental, but “Edge of a Singularity” has some good melodies. There are almost vocal hooks to it, but delivered via instrumentation. It is sort of the “which of these is not like the other” contestant, though. It fits well enough for inclusion, but really turns the set on its head in some ways.
This set might be a bit uneven, but it leans toward the strong side of the equation. What problems it has in terms of production and other things are fairly minor. Overall, this works pretty well, really.
Mary Angela Tobin