Alexis Foxe - To Have And Want More
2010, Alexis Foxe
Born to a Colombian father and Cuban mother, Alexis Foxe spent much of her childhood between Buenos Aires and Madrid before her family moved to New York City when she was eleven. Learning English from American cinema and having a mom in the music business meant that the paths to a performing life were never far removed for Foxe. College called for a year after high school, but the road called more. After a pit stop in Spain, Foxe found herself living in London and enrolled in the London School of Economics. Even there, music beckoned more than books; so while Foxe completed a degree she became even more convinced that singing and performing was to be a way of life for her. Foxe's sophomore album, To Have And Want More, is an exploration of the day-to-day benefits and problems of the modern world in terms of blissed-out ignorance and wide-eyed wonder. At times it seems an honest sociological diversion in music, whereas other times the shadow of irony hangs over Foxe's songwriting.
To Have And Want More opens with the highly entertaining "Down The Drain". How this song hasn't already been snagged as the theme of a reality television show or movie I don't know. Foxe uses a blend of modern dance music and big band jazz to lampoon materialistic culture. It's all tongue-in-cheek, but Foxe plays it so well you'll start to believe. "Revel Without A Cause" is a dreamy dance song; solid material for the dance clubs and melodic enough to be an enjoyable listen. "Yoohoo" is full of camp and sex appeal, as the former gangly weed shows off her newfound talents to an old crush with the help of a Greek chorus that's more Alphabet City than Athens. Foxe plays the breathy-voiced vixen on "Love Is For P******; vamping as a tease with a mean streak over a mellow dance beat.
"Keep It Simple" might be a how-to manual for getting to know Foxe or someone like her in a dance club; it's not about the dollars but the moves. Foxe plays on her Cuban-American heritage in Grand Macadamias, a humorous look at the American Dream come true for one hard-working immigrant family as it applies to her. "Cynic" is a Lesley Gore-style 1950's pop ballad, recalling a past hesitancy toward love in the face of suddenly falling. "Cynic" will appeal across generations, and the maturity of Foxe's songwriting displays an incredibly broad range of talent and touch.
In "Manhattan May Be Grand" Foxe pays tribute to her current home but looks to the horizon to a time when her dreams and aspirations take her beyond the Big Apple. Once again Foxe's maturity and depth as a songwriter may take you a bit by surprise. Foxe uses classic roles and paradigms for female behavior, blowing them up from the inside with over-the-top caricatures that serve to lampoon themselves, but in "Manhattan May Be Grand" we hear the dreams of a person-as-artist laid bare for the world to hear. "Gloomy" is mellow, big band blues, a great mood piece in an intriguing arrangement. You'll find yourself drawn back to "Gloomy" time and time again. "For Your Eyes Only" is a bit repetitive but is ensconced in a sensual love. The dark and mysterious arrangement is compact but with real energy flowing in the seams in spite of the subdued delivery. Foxe takes one more stab at the sexual revolution with "Mr. Third Floor", a bluesy ballad of seduction full of innuendo and scarcely veiled intention. It's an entertaining close set deep in the burlesque tradition.
Alexis Foxe is an enigma, and don't be surprised if you don't quite get her on the first listen. Foxe hits hard and early with over-the-top presentations that may initially appeal to base emotions, but Foxe laughs at you as she laughs with you, sharing the joke with you as she makes you part of it. This is not dumb pop music. Alexis Foxe's songwriting is informed by a deep and subtle musical sensitivity, and she's capable of using the sheer force of personality and sex appeal of a Madonna or Lady Gaga in conjunction with the wit of a Will Rogers or Mark Twain. Yes, she's that good. To Have And Want More is daringly original, smart, witty, well-written and engaging. Alexis Foxe will have you at hello.
Rating: 4.5 Stars (Out of 5)