Trisha’s Take: Open on Sunday review
Open on Sunday
Performed by Paula Carino (vocals, rhythm guitar), Ross Bonadonna (lead guitar, backing vocals), Andy Mattina (bass), Tom Pope (drums)
I’ve spoken at length about how I don’t have the most expansive of musical educations. Sure, I can natter on at length about early female classical composers, but that’s mostly a product of a 300-level Music course I took over decade ago because it satisfied a prerequisite and a university honors slot at the same time.
However, ever since I learned that I inherited my ability to carry a note from my mom and my ability to feel a rhythm from my dad, I’ve loved listening to music and finding those songs which I could sing and dance along with.
And I have the Internet to thank for my most recent find.
It all started when I was browsing Kickstarter.com, a website which gives creative people a little nudge towards helping them fulfill their dreams by making it easy for them to find backers (or angels, as they call them in the theater business).
It was how my former editor Gordon McAlpin was able to raise the funds necessary to leave a full-time job for a few months to finish the art and pages necessary for the completion of the first Multiplex print book.
After I pledged to McAlpin’s project back in October 2009, I started clicking around the site to see what other endeavors there were to be funded and found a project for a former co-worker and singer-songwriter named Paula Carino who wanted to create a physical CD to go along with the digital release of her newest album Open on Sunday.
When I worked with her for over three years at a now-defunct media database company, I knew she was a musician and I knew that she gave concerts every now and then, but I never went to see any of her performances. We’re connected on Facebook now, but it’s just not the same as seeing a person every day to remind someone of their hobbies and talents.
However, I liked her and I thought, “What the hell? It’s $10 bucks, I’m helping someone I like, and I get new music. Why not support her?”
When I finally received my CD, it lay unopened in a desk drawer at work for a very long time and then migrated to my apartment where it lay unopened in my backpack for another long period of time. Finally one weekend, I decided to open it up, pop it into my computer so that I could import it into my iTunes library, and give it a good long listen.
Upon the first notes of “(Mother I Must Go to) Maxwell’s,” I was immediately struck by how bouncy and catchy it was and how strong the narrative was within the song. Carino’s tale of a young impressionable person (I’m assuming it’s a girl because of the repeated pleas to “mother,” but I could be wrong) who wants to break free of his/her suburban life to be free is something that everyone can relate to, even if they never do such a thing in their real life.
As I continued playing the album in order—and then after tranferring it to my iPod, several times on “shuffle”—I decided that I really liked Carino’s work. I’m not going to go through the entire album song by song, but suffice to say that this is one of the few albums where I can say I like every song on it; here are my favorites in addition to “Maxwell’s”:
- “Sensitive Skin”: The rhythm behind the opening notes remind me so much of a Latin salsa, even if the narrative in front of it is not. It’s rare to have “indie girl rock” music that you can salsa to, and I really appreciate it.
- “With the Bathwater”: I didn’t like this song at first because the speaker sounded so wishy-washy in dealing with her breakup:
Cuz I can’t take the bad with the good
And I can’t love you like I oughta
So I’m throwing my baby out
With the bathwater
(It also makes me wonder if Carino wrote the song as a musical foil to No Doubt’s “Bathwater,” but I’m sure that’s something she can answer if she chooses to read this review.)
But I immediately twigged onto how clever that chorus was in switching up the expectation of rhyming “good” with a word like “should” and the longer I listened to it, the more I realized that even if I didn’t like the narrative, the lyrics were extremely clever and unexpected. It’s one of those good “sing-along” songs where you find yourself humming it when you wake up in the morning.
- “Foxhound”: Whenever I hear this song, I think of underground car races for some reason. I have no idea why. I’m also curious as to exactly who this “foxhound” is supposed to be, and if it (or he) is related to Elvis’ and Willie Mae Thornton’s “hounddog.”
- “Sir You Have No Bucket”: The reason I liked this song at first is a little juvenile because the title reminded me of the “I haz a bukkit” meme.Yes, I can be such a child sometimes.And yet, when I really took a look at the lyrics, what really stood out to me is that (I think) the song is about the New Testament parable of the Samaritan woman by the well:
Sir, you have no bucket and this well is deep
And still you ask me for water.
Questioning the company that I keep
And leading the witness to slaughter.
But I know a spring that never runs out
And flows through everything.
You are a spring that never runs out
And flows through everything.
All of a sudden, my mind is blown because something I’ve been chair-dancing and/or head-bopping along to on the subway is a condensation of a story of forgiveness.
Isn’t reading and listening comprehension great? It also doesn’t hurt my theory that the song right after “Bucket” is called “Road to Hell.”
If I have complaints about Carino’s album it’s that sometimes it’s hard to understand her lyrics because she elides and slurs some words, but I wonder if that’s just a personal problem because I have difficulty understanding most sung (or rapped) lyrics if I’ve never heard or read the song before.
Other than that, I completely and enthusiastically recommend Paula Carino’s work to anyone who likes Dar Williams, Beth Sorrentino, or Deborah Conway.
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In: Music, Reviews · Tagged with: clever lyrics, kickstarter, Music