Sound: I'm wanting to write more reviews these days to try and expand people's minds to other music. I'm constantly sick with how much prejudice there is in music because it's either too pop or whatnot. This review is of Jessica Harp's independant record, Preface that was released in 2000. Jessica Harp is a very talented singer/songwriter and guitarist although not many people know about her. She gained fame through a Country pop/rock band with fellow singer/guitarist/songwriter, Michelle Branch, who is better known. Preface was never commercially released. It was an independant record, much like Michelle Branch's, Broken Bracelet [only available through the official Jessica Harp website]. The record packs an upbeat alternative theme with elements of acoustic pop/rock. I was quite suprised when I first purchased this record. I figured she'd be like Michelle Branch but I was completely wrong. Her sound isn't similar to Michelle. It's more mature, at least in my opinion. The tunes are catchy and I was amazed at Jessica's talent on guitar. She's not your average female guitar player who only plays chords. She does a few solos and if you bother to look beyond Preface, you'll see she can do classic rock style licks.
Upon listening to Preface, I always get a vintage style sound, resemblind the Eagles and the sound of the Beatles. For example, on the 5th track, "She'll Fly", the opening intro sounded as if it came from the '60s. That is why Jessica Harp will always be my favourite female guitar player. She fuses old style pop within a modernized setting. I can't really explain it. Preface is one of those albums where you can't captivate the feeling of it, unless you give it a try. The 4th Track, "Half a Cost" also deserves favourable recognition. This track also has the same mood as "She'll Fly". It's that same old vintage style pop resembling the beatles. Other than these two tracks, the rest of the songs are more synonymous with the genre, pop/rock. That's all there is to it, melodic pop rock that's mature in every single way. It's not "girly" at all if that's what you think. As a music fan, I can tell you I can't tell you how much I enjoyed listening to this album. There's something about it that distinguishes it from other pop/rock artists. To be frank, I'm starting to think that perhaps pop/rock really isn't the right word for it, alternative bordering pop maybe? The great thing about this record is that the guitar isn't always the most concentrated instrument in some songs. For example, in the tracks, "Miss You Love" and "Of Your Way", the piano is used instead. I'm not quite sure if Jessica is the one who's playing the piano but I'd be very impressed if she did. It shows multi-talent, which is increasingly rare in today's age of music. // 10
Lyrics: My overal impression of the lyrics is, "Brilliant". I love good lyrics. It's a pet peeve of mine. I can't listen to an artist who's lyrics do not appeal me. Jessica's lyrics are all very personal, "Roses are Red" being the most personal, I feel. All her lyrics mean something and it's not hard to interpret them. In short, this record is about love and self-accomplishment, more the former. Please don't let that stop you from getting this album. I find there is a really huge prejudice of artist just because they sing about love in a nice way that isn't metal. Jeeze guys, broaden your minds and realise your bloody testicals won't disappear. Her voice is the hallmark of the record. She has a pitch perfect voice and there isn't one sign of her struggling with any note. I especially love the way she sings high notes, "Half the Cost", "Dreams for Rent", "Not Today", "Miss You Love", "Roses are Red" and the very epic, "You, San Francisco and me". Her voice is better displayed in the song, "You, San Francisco and me," absolutely remarkable. The lyrics will always be a 11 to me. It is one of the best lyrical masterpieces in my collection of music. // 10
Overall Impression: Well, if you're a pop/rock or alternative fan looking for more talent on guitar [and piano, apparently], this album should be pleasant to your ears. You can only purchase it from her website and it'll only cost you 10, big deal. I prize this album and everytime I listen to it, it reminds me why I ever gave up on Rock music altogether. There's something in acoustic/poprock that you can never get in Rock. What is it? I don't know, passion? You can get passion in Rock music but it's not the same and never will be. // 10