Saturday, January 17, 2009

205. Sean Fournier: Oh My (2008)

The Interweb has revolutionized countless aspects of our world, not the least of which is self-expression.

Artists, musicians, filmmakers, photographers, crafters, and writers are all now able to put their work out there with ginormous potential to be seen and heard. There are those rare artists who create as an instinct and have no need for others to react, but most are not content to create in a vacuum. They want other people to experience what they've done.

Singer/songwriter Sean Fournier is one such individual. He's so intent on getting his music to the masses that he's giving it away. Oh My, a 6-song sampler, features new recordings of songs from Fournier's 2005 and 2006 albums, as well as one new tune. Offering a product for free to get people interested is nothing new, but it is a good idea. And it also shows a confidence in said product.

In Fournier's case, the confidence is justified. His folk/pop sound is pleasing, well-crafted, and genuine. It was also a smart idea to include a cross-section of "greatest hits" to give listeners a good idea of the full scope of his sound.

Three songs come from his debut, Put the World on Stop. The title track is the catchiest and most lyrically adept of the bunch (who doesn't wish their life had a pause button?). Goodbye is hypnotic. The piano-driven, string-laden ballad Another Like You showcases Fournier's easy tenor.

The two songs from Fournier's sophomore album, Paper Tiger, really stand out, with a polished, radio-ready sound. Opener Broken Stereo marries a shuffling beat with a strong melody. It's about unrequited love, but could also be addressed to potential listeners: "Met you once or twice but you probably don't remember me / 'cause I go undiscovered / You confuse me for another." Falling for You is a sweet love song, and like Put the World On Stop, it features the words "oh my god" in the chorus, thus the title of the EP.

The one completely new song in the collection, Holding the Hand of the Hurricane, seems a little bit out-of-place. It's got a dark mood and an edgier sound, thanks to some vocal distortion effects, and cool, eerie, background vocals. After the uber-melodic tunes on rest of the EP, it's definitely a change of pace. I'm just not sure I wanted a change of pace...

As they say on Reading Rainbow, don't take my word for it. It's simple enough to listen for yourself: http://www.sean-fournier.com/ohmy. For me, at least, Fournier's gambit worked. I plan to buy some of his other tracks from iTunes, and I'll definitely have my ear out for what Fournier does in the future.

Grade: B+
Fave Song: Put the World On Stop

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