Megan McCauley - Better Than Blood
Record Label: Wind-up Records
Release Date: October 23, 2007
What can be said about Megan McCauley? To call her a wild child would be understating; to call her precocious would be putting it mildly. Consider this: at the age of 19, the Ohio singer/songwriter has already spent half her teen years fighting drug and alcohol abuse. On top of that she was a guest on the Dr. Phil show in an episode that chronicled the contentious relationship she has had with her mother and father. Closer to the point, this past fall she released her debut album Better Than Blood on Wind-up Records.
From the pent-up frustration of “Die For You,” which appeared on the Fantastic Four soundtrack, to the sweeping grace of “Wrong Way Out,” McCauley proves she is quite comfortable in the studio and extremely confident on record. Two of her most radio ready songs, the lilting “Fragile” and the sweetly hypnotic “See Through,” are compelling and captivating. Though she is bratty at times (“Tap That”) she makes up for it with her voice. In her live set she sings a gorgeous version of the blues standard “Why Don’t You Do Right?” that is both jaw dropping and worth the price of admission.
One of the catchiest songs of the disc is the painfully dark “I’ll Pay You to Shoot Him,” a song she admits was written for her father. However, the experience of hearing the song sung is awkward and uncomfortable. There’s something unnerving listening to a girl playfully sing the lyrics, “I’ll pay you to shoot him down, I’ll pay you to blow his brains out.” No stranger to pushing boundaries, McCauley is currently promoting her single “Tap That,” a punchy, danceable number about getting loaded and finding sex.
For all her catchy rock anthems, McCauley does misfire. “Use Me” is an aggressive number that crackles like a Hole b-side but falls flat after the first minute, as does “I Realized” and the crunchy “Time,” which McCauley admits she ripped off from the Dresden Dolls.
For all her flaws, McCauley has a certain radio accessibility. She successfully channels Alanis Morissette’s “You Oughtta Know” rage with a Heart-like penchant for melody. Whether she rises up the charts or finds her way into arenas like Madison Square Garden is still to be determined, but the talent is certainly there.
One of the catchiest songs of the disc is the painfully dark “I’ll Pay You to Shoot Him,” a song she admits was written for her father. However, the experience of hearing the song sung is awkward and uncomfortable. There’s something unnerving listening to a girl playfully sing the lyrics, “I’ll pay you to shoot him down, I’ll pay you to blow his brains out.”
That's me. I am one odd duck. To be honest though, it's actually a combination of a few things. For one, there's a lot of great music out there and I do prefer to find stuff that takes some real musical ingenue. Stuff that deviates away from a lot of the normal sounds one would hear everyday.
Also, I promised Linda Ferreira I'd review discs that have been sitting on the shelves for awhile, stuff that no one will touch. It's a bit more challenging and it expands my musical interests. I mean, granted, I'd love to review a Lovedrug album, a disc from Brand New, a Spinto Band release or something along those lines, but those are all snatched up. Plus, this left-of-center material is quietly under the radar and in some instances should be heard by more people. They're just trying to make a living too.
The Megan McCauley review came easy. I know the press person at her record label quite well and he had handed me this disc during the summer.