Edie Brickell seems to mean well enough, and so do the New Bohemians, so I don't want to be too hard on their multi-platinum debut. In her words, what she is what she is. In mine, her group's playing folk-rock by way of dream pop: the closer they get to the latter, the better they sound. They never sound better than the misty "Air of December." By the time the chorus hits "Nothing," Ms. Brickell becomes the most obnoxious woman in the world, a title a person like her should never deserve. "Circle" is insipid, the defense of "She" irksome ("You can't judge her for that/She knows where her head is at"), "Keep Coming Back" pointless. It's what I'd expect when the album's mantra is "Chuck me in the shallow water/Before I get too deep." Smoothest line: "I'm not aware of too many things/I know what I know if you know what I mean."
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Tom Benton (TomBenton)
Aspiring high school English teacher with dreams of filmmaking and a strong taste for music.
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"What I Am," the leadoff track onShooting Rubberbands at the Stars, was a left-field hit off this Dallas band's debut album, and it remains about the only thing they're remembered for (excepting Brickell's eventual marriage to Paul Simon). But a good part of this album is quite listenable and stands up reasonably well to the years. "Love Like We Do," "Little Miss S." and "The Wheel" are basically equal to "What I Am" in their rhythmic and melodic pop appeal; "Air of December" and "She" allow the band's more jazz-oriented roots a little room to flourish, and the poignantly personal ballad "Circle" remains the best lyric Brickell has written. It was all downhill from here, butShooting Rubberbandswas an early peak worth revisiting.--Peter Blackstock