Reviewed July 2007
True Stories I Made Up
Zip Records: 2007
To hear sound clips or learn more about this release, Turbula recommends viewing its Amazon.com entry.
The third CD from Amsterdam's Birgit (Schuurman) is the first to hit U.S. shores (where she's now touring in support). It shows a light, accessible R&B-based pop sung by a vocalist with a pretty voice.
But despite her lovely vocals and the lush production, it's not a particularly ear-grabbing album. The songs are in a vein along the lines of what the late Latin singer Soraya did, or young Brit popster Natasha Bedingfield's recent chart-busting debut. But none of the songs on "True Stories I Made Up" approach the hits those two singers produced; there is no song anything close to Bedingfield's "These Words" or Soraya's "Llevame" ("Lead Me"). Birgit is clearly aimiing at the same hook-laden approach to pop music with her songs here (most of which she co-wrote), but the best track on the album is a cover of Kate Bush's "Wuthering Heights."
And while one should grant her a bit of slack on the lyrics as English is obviously not her first language, it's still almost painful to hear her sing "I'm not just anyone/I'm unusual" over and over on "Not Just Anyone."
The most notable thing about the album is the occasional use of Eastern-sounding string instrumentation, giving some of the songs an almost-Chinese patina.
Mostly, though, what is here is anything but unusual: truth is, the album could have been done by just about anyone.
Review by Jim Trageser. Jim is a writer and editor living in Escondido, Calif., and was a contributor to the "Grove Press Guide to Blues on CD" (1993) and "The Routledge Encyclopedia of the Blues" (2005).