The Sweet Soul Light, the recent release by Cheryl Bliss, is refreshingly complex and strong. It’s not another pop album, but a strong feminine pop collection. By that I mean that even though the tone is soft, the music and the lyrics are deep, rich and meaningful, something that currently lacks in most of the modern pop world, especially from women.
It’s not that surprising when you see a list of her musical influences. She cites U2, Radiohead, and Peter Gabriel as her inspiration and you can see the similarities, there is a real depth to the song construction: keyboards, guitars, drums, and her vocals are layered and refined.
Lyrically, the album is as strong as it is musically, if that is possible. There is wisdom to the songs, and the tracks flow one to the other to combine and form a real concept for the album. It all comes together with a theme of digging deep and achieving your goals no matter how scary that can be.
Obviously we write out of where we are. I would hope this album is as cathartic for the listener to hear as it was for me to write. (Cheryl Bliss)
Bliss wrote “Sleep Well Tonight” after producer Daniel Lanois compared her voice to Julee Cruise’s. Cheryl challenged herself to write a song that she could envision the serene songwriter singing. Did she meet the challenge? I think so. Soft and sweet, it is like a lullaby. The lyrics are warm and comforting, offering hope. The music is a bit on the eerie and longing side and in places a bit repetitive, but on the whole the song comes off as she intended.
In contrast “Lean Into It” is a upbeat song with an uplifting rhythm. The lyrics carry a similar warm and hopeful message as the others, lending itself to that concept I mentioned earlier. It has a jazzy feel and is a mood lifter, bringing a smile to your face no matter your current mood.
“Wild Wild World” is the most different from any other track on the CD. It has some of the most intricate and strong guitar lines I’ve heard in a long time. They scream, or more like whine, to the moody and glum lyrics. It reminds me of some early Pat Benatar.
All in all, The Sweet Soul Light is exactly that, sweet and soulful as well as soft and on some fronts moody, and definitely worth a listen.
Cheryl Bliss will be performing Friday, December 16 in Austin Texas. Cherylbliss.com offers steaming audio and downloadable versions of four tracks from the CD, tour information, and several goodies for the enthusiastic fan.