Angela Predhomme - Don't Wonder
2011, Angela Predhomme
Before getting into the music itself one must consider the voice of Detroit’s own Angela Predhomme. Unadorned and simple in its beauty and grace, Predhomme’s voice is built on the purity of tone of classical training, the clear, clean sound of pure pop music and hints of a country twang. Predhomme retains the girl-next-door mystique even as her songwriting grows in depth and sophistication on her second album, Don’t Wonder. Predhomme’s self-titled debut (2008) showed flashes of what listeners will hear here, but Predhomme has definitely taken up the challenge; the growth is exponential.
Don’t Wonder opens with "I Claim You", with Predhomme infusing honest, heartfelt lyrics with a sense of fullness and warmth that is not often heard in popular music. "At Your Own Risk" features a straightforward pop arrangement colored by country guitar stylings. The chorus is catchy to the nines, and Predhomme writes from a well of real emotion. The result is a pop song with real commercial potential, even if the chorus ends in a semi-awkward lyrical aberration that shatters the rhyme scheme of the song.
"My New Favorite Song" is a classic pop love song that could be a hit in any of the six decades preceding its release. This is an example of near-perfect songwriting, capturing the moment of falling in love in words and music. The chorus is so universal you'll be singing along before it’s even finished the first time. "At The End Of The 13th Week" explores heartbreak and the complexity of recovery in a nuanced story set over a wonderfully simple arrangement. Predhomme's voice is never better than right here. "I'm Wearing Black" is a bluesy, down tempo number that's seductive and sweet. Predhomme goes for a lush, sensual sound here that's full of warmth.
"You Matter To Me" is a sweet ballad that borders on cliché but is heartfelt. It's a solid album track may play better live than in the studio. "Redeemed" is a personal manifesto for picking up the pieces and moving on. This could be an anthem for the broken hearted; inspiring in its lack of affectation. Predhomme might just have a hit on her hands with aptly named "This Might Be Good". It's a catchy, low-key love song with serious mix-tape potential. The songwriting and performance are brilliant; the only thing missing is airplay. Predhomme has a Leslie Gore moment on "What Your Words Don't Say", a classic-style love ballad about the ways we show how we feel. "Don't Wonder" is another mix-tape destined number that also has potential as a first dance number. Don't be surprised if this simple song of love and commitment winds up on a movie soundtrack one of these days.
Predhomme digs down for "Deeply", a beautiful song of hidden love and longing. Predhomme captures a gorgeous 'Wow' moment in song; capturing the tragedy and beauty of ambivalence in a moving number that will haunt you. Don't Wonder takes a bow with "The Silence Of Winter", an instrumental featuring Predhomme on piano, accompanied by cello and guitar. The effect is intriguing, maintaining a hint of pop sensibility while attaining a sound that approaches the realm of modern baroque.
Angela Predhomme takes a giant leap forward on Don't Wonder, melding musicianship and art to break down barriers she perhaps didn't even know were there. The depth of honesty in both Predhomme's lyrics and composition are striking, evoking both an emotional and aesthetic beauty that were hinted at on her previous album, but never fully realized. This is what it sounds like when a talented musician finally lets go and gives in to their muse, while making the conscious choice to speak freely in their own voice. "Don't Wonder" wears the shine of brilliance at times, and should find its way onto a number of "best of" lists for 2011.
Rating: 4.5 Stars (Out of 5)