Veronica Baird - I Am
|Veronica Baird - I Am|
Well, this is a new prospect for me. New but not entirely unexpected. You see, the beguiling voice of Veronica has been on my radar for a while and this album has been a while in the making but this is not necessarily intended as a showcase of her performing abilities. No, what our Irish friend intends to do with 'I Am' is use it as a calling card for publishers to hear her songs and cherry pick the best from within the album. This is a shame for two reasons; Firstly, Veronica has a beautiful and versatile voice that we should all welcome in to our lives and secondly it's going to be bloody hard for any half decent music publisher to distinguish one gem from another on this album! Nevertheless, we can enjoy this music now so let's do just that...
Infectious is a word that can get over used at times but I think 'Sunflowers' qualifies as the wordless vocal melody at the very beginning stuck in my head for a good 48 hours and the song itself is a lovely, floaty summer pop song that can't help but put a spring in your step. But, as if to make a point, 'I'm Fine' is a much darker, moodier piece that has its roots in the rock world as choppy guitars and pounding drums push the song forward at a determined pace. By the time we get to track three, 'Always', and Veronica's breathy tones drift out over a lazily plucked acoustic melody, it's clearly apparent that this is a particularly diverse collection of songs that not only showcase her song writing abilities but also her stunning voice. 'New Beginnings' is a pimped out version of a single that was released a while back and while the same quality song still lies underneath the surface, there is a new, sexy sheen on top that you could see becoming a huge crossover pop-rock hit for someone with enough edge (I'm thinking Pink off the top of my head). 'I'm In Love' does what it says on the tin and has another one of those cursedly infectious vocal melodies in the chorus that just won't leave my ears - if I didn't know any better I'd swear it was some sort of witchcraft.
On 'Flying The Distance', Veronica does that thing that Katy Perry seems so fond of where she starts off all quiet and calm before building the song up to a nicely crafted crescendo - not a bad effort but the weakest track on the album for me as it never quite delivers on what it promises. We're back to the rockier side of things on 'I Could Never' which is almost a rock power ballad about undying love but has just too much kick to it to be classed as a ballad - no bad thing. 'Speechless' is a Tori Amos style piano lead tune full of delicacy and fragility and, whoever picks this one up, needs to do a video of the singer walking through a snowy park and looking wistful as the sun reflects off the melting ice. For the last two tracks we have 'Surrender', a dark and brooding piece of dramatic music that could easily be a Britney smash if they whacked a load of vocoder on her voice (I really hope that doesn't happen), followed by 'Can I Take You There'. Now this last track is one that could definitely be a contender for a hit record but, and this is where I struggle with this album, I think it could only be properly done by Veronica herself. So much of the lyrical content seems to come from a very personal place and I'm just not sure anyone else could do the words justice or approach the vocal versatility displayed across these ten tracks. There's only one thing for it; we're all going to have to make the pilgrimage to Ireland to hear this stuff live before any of it gets tampered with by Will.I.Am (no offence if you're related Veronica.I.Am.....see what I did there?).
More information: http://www.veronicabaird.com/
9th November - Everyman Theatre, Cork