Sunday, April 05, 2009

Vienna Teng - Inland Territory

Release Date: 04/07/09
Genre: Piano pop, Folk

Goodjob Internet.  I wish someone had told me the album leaked (released in Germany) back in February.  I discovered her thanks to my Michelle Branch neighbor's on  With each subsequental album, I could hear her fading towards more chamber music.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.  But I've watched some of her interviews and the way she comes off to me is really humbling.

Review:  Because she could have stayed pop, been a reliable artist, and perhaps been asked to perform on a 12:30 show every now and then.  This is just from memory, but I think she said that she has a hard time with writing music.  It's tough.  And i don't know if her mindset is to not make radio songs, but on her first album, she displayed a great sense of pop sensibility.  Then she moved toward what i call a lounge/poetry corner sound.  On her 4th album, she said Inland Territory was like a Mixtape.  and yeah, that worried me.

I think the two songs the average lids would be drawn to are the two 'A' songs, "Antebellum" and "Augustine."  They have this fantastic blue-green breezy feel to them and you can just feel that they are moving towards something.  I remember her posting the lyrics to Augustine and I was like, "a song that beings with 'oh my god' isn't going to sound good."  But it's good.  "Antebellum" is just asking for a Anime music video.  I haven't checked youtube yet, but it's a guarantee they'll be plenty.  The addition of Alex at the end was great stuff. They should just be a duo.  They seem to compliment each other nicely.

Vienna was right with the mixtape call.  At first, I thought it meant it will be filled with underdeveloped/scattered ideas.  Some tracks don't really feel like they are place correctly.  "White Light" is the real album opener and "The Last Snowfall" sounds like a bonus track at the end of an album.  Both "Grandmother Song" and "Radio" are songs that have no 'brother' tracks.  They are really...out there (in terms of Vienna's catalog) so they do twist the album a bit.  I ended up liking "Grandmother Song" after disliking it.  Because a women isn't just for cooking meals, scrubbing floors, making babies.

There's something about Kansas that I'm connecting with.  That's all I can say at the moment.  It's a smoother song, but not as quiet as "Watershed."  I like "In Another Life" for being like a old movie reel.  It sounds like a silent movie era show tune.  yup.  The rest of the songs are more or less appealing.  Fans should be happy.

Summary: Out of her 4, this ranks 3rd favorite.  Her first two IMO had a great beginning to end flow.  That's really all that's missing here.  The flow of tracks help prepare the mind to embrace the music.  So it can be unflattering at times when her songs jump from pop-rock to folksy classical.  Granted, as much as I like her music, she never felt like a 10/10 artist, but her dedication and her self-awareness is what makes me interested.

Key Tracks: Antebellum, Grandmother Song, No Gringo
Rating: 7/10

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