By Colby Michaels
It seems a bit fitting that a band that has Linda Perry as their lead singer would be my 1st music review for Dorthy's Closet. I’ve been a big fan of Linda since her 4 Non Blondes days, and my eyes would always gravitate whenever I see her name mentioned in the press, excited to see what artist she might be applying her gifted writing talents to. I wait in excited anticipation for the release of that tune. With the release of their debut album, “8 Songs About a Girl”, Deep Dark Robot expresses the emotional punch that Perry’s lyrics carry with the powerhouse pipes that her voice is along with some down and dirty old fashioned rock & roll grinding that her very talented band mates provide as an aural backdrop to songs about unrequited love and the road of being denied emotional access to a paramours heart. True passion bleeds, and Perry and company lay out the wounds in raw and unrepentant rock n roll glory.
The first track, “I’m Coming for You” really sets the tone (and is the reason why I’m doing this in order of album tracks) for the rest of the album with that grinding intensity; the catchy bass riff. The opening lyrics, “I knew right from the moment right when we met/that you would be the girl I would never forget” lay out the groundwork for how a person becomes focused on what their heart and soul is telling them is “the One”, how love can hit you like a crowbar, and how everything about the one that makes your heart race and steals your breath blinds you to what reality bitch-smacks you with: This trip on loving is only a one-way ticket- a flight that takes the person into the ozone of blissful fantasyland of an island of one.
I found “No One Wakes Me Up Like You” a punch to my heart, because knowing the story behind this album, about someone Perry loved unconditionally but not having that returned, makes the sweetness of this track even more piercing of the heart. The dreamy melodic slow-building crescendo of complimentary (“you’re too hot, your too cool”) and the sneaky reveal/cover of the heartache (“I’m not doing, I’m not doing, I’m just doing fine”) cuts the sweetness of the intended sentiment with the blade of the pain of a frustrated and bewitched heart that lies in the corner of our minds known as rational thought speeding down the highway of crushed dreams. Put that smile on and pretend everything’s ok, if you say it enough, it will become true…mantra of the doomed love.
“Can’t Getcha Outta My Mind” probably the one track I did not connect with musically as the lyrics really bring into the focus the obsessive nature of how we feel when ALL we can think about is this person that is in our blood and constantly on our minds. The drums and bass sound for this track didn’t jell with what I was hearing in the lyrics- I think I might have been expecting a faster tempo to match the insanity of the obsession of the tune itself.
Have you ever been crazy nuts in love with someone, but since you weren’t getting those feelings returned, you tried to convince yourself to deny those feelings, knowing in your heart it was a lie? That’s what “You Mean Nothing to Me” makes me feel- the minimal structure of the arrangement and Perry’s almost whispering of the lyrics hints at the desperation at wanting to believe the object of her affection means nothing to her, but the truth is denial is the hearts way of pulling a fast one: If I said I wanted it before and now deny I do, I’m only reinforcing the emotional apocalypse that is occurring in my soul. Love the guitar work and how it just floats around Perry’s vocals in an acoustically gentle but always present manner.
Dark, dark dark- what else would you expect from a song titled “It F*ckin’ Hurts”, I guarantee this slow, grinding, bleeding, bitter and cathartic in a twisted way will be on your playlist when your raging against the paramour who leads you astray…Perry’s anguished wails expose the deep vulnerability that lies beneath the surface rage- the deeper you’re cut, the greater the pain- it’s here…lyrics like “I’m so addicted to how I mean nothing to you” and “you pull me in and then f*ck with my mind” resonate deeply with anyone who wants to lash out in pain at the one they feel the most love for.
Probably the most accessible and pop of all the tracks, “Won’t You Be My Girl” is a straight up rocker track with some serious hardcore pounding on the drums by Tony Toray and fiery licks on guitar and bass by the rest of the band. I like this song for completely different reasons than the other tracks: I just rock out to it and it’s awesome fun! You can almost feel the sweat coming from the band while listening to this song!
You drop a piano arrangement in a song, and there is a good chance I’m going to like it. With “Speck”, I’m not only moved by the haunting and whispered lyrics of how one feels like a “speck” compared to the beauty of the love one has for a person that takes their breath away, (“I think you are beautiful, but one day my face you will forget”) but how the piano arrangement gently carries the emotion of the heartbreaking sentiments of the song. My favorite track on the album!
Closing out the album with a song whose message I think we’ve all surely sang after the consumption of few adult beverages, “F*ck You, Stupid Bitch” is also a big hit with me- I think the title speaks to the song's topic, so no dissertation there. I can say that it makes me bob my head ferociously with its garage rock slamming of the bass and guitars, as Perry finds her “high voice” (threw me at first) to voice her …ummm…disapproval of a paramour…this track really represents to me why Pink has Linda Perry on speed dial for song writing duties! I’m sorely tempted to slam back a few cold ones and sing/shout this track to a heartbreaker I had to deal with earlier this year!
Summary: Why you should definitely buy this CD: With a nice balance of rock it out tracks and gut-wrenching soulful ballads, "8 Songs About A Girl" is a generous serving of the obsession of love, and the pain and anguish of when that love is not returned- the lyrics are true and raw, and the band's sound keeps you engaged throughout the album; whether you’re a boy or a girl, the emotional honesty of this CD will strike a deep emotional chord with the listener.
To keep up to date with all their music and show dates, visit the Deep Dark Robot website.