February 7, 2008

Test Spins: Draw the Curtain

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Will Hoge begins Draw the Curtains with the lyrics, “Two years, three months and five days.” But Hoge begins the album by singing, “Two years, three months and five day-ay-zzzz-ahh-ha!” It’s that annoying affect of affliction that too many “soulful” singers suffer from: the heightened breathy type of whiny-whimpery-crying groan thing. It’s supposed to be a little flare, like frosting on a cake, stressing the artist’s emotion. Michelle Branch suffers from the same disease when she sings, “Turn it inside out so I can see-ee-eugh-ya-ah.”
Lucky for Hoge, there is cake beneath the frosting: “Sex, Lies and Money” is a great country tune; his lyrics are good and his voice is solid. Even so, there’s too much sense that Hoge is the kind of singer who really wants you to read his lyrics — not listen and just enjoy, but really get to know him. He wants to be loved as a tortured soul. Or maybe his record company wants to sell him as a tortured soul. Regardless, I’m just not buying.