I have been listening to Leigh Nash's first solo recording (Blue On Blue) for the past couple of months, and it was no surprise to me that "My Idea of Heaven" was chosen to be the first single off of the album. It has all of the elements of pop sweetness that brought Nash's former band, Sixpence None the Richer, to national attention in the late 90s. The hooky chorus comes immediately to mind every time I glance over at the CD case sitting on my desk, and I find myself singing along in my head and bouncing in my chair a little. Unfortunately, however, this song is one of few memorable tracks from the CD.
The album begins sparsely with the rolling, piano-driven "Along the Wall", which evolves into a slightly canned pop track by the end of the first chorus. This is disappointing to me because the song began with so much potential to be like a single rose in a simple vase and ended up overproduced like some cheap grocery store flower arrangement. Unfortunately, this is not the only track that was given that treatment.
Luckily, the second track was produced with a lighter hand ("Nervous in the Light of Dawn") and features a haunting melody by a flute or reed instrument of some sort. The lyrics paint an image of a rolling prairie in the early morning when the air is just right for contemplating life and love. There is a sense of wistful hope and optimism in her voice.
And I wished for guidance
And I wished for peace
I could see the lightning
Somewhere in the East
And I wished for affection
And I wished for calm
As I lay there
Nervous in the light of dawn
The album is reminiscent of Sixpence, but with more of the pop piano and less of the rock. On the whole, it's a great collection of songs, but very little stands out about it. Nash's vocals are indeed unique, but the songs themselves are only slightly mellower variations on the romantic ballads found on any top forty station. Not that that's necessarily a bad thing, but it is a little disappointing. I was hoping for something more.
Perhaps that something more may come from the remixes. From now until September 1, fans are invited to download the multitracks for "My Idea of Heaven," do their thing with them, and then upload them to the site. All entries will be judged by Marlin, Morgan Page, Styrofoam, Panoptica and The Submarines. The winners will receive an iPod shuffle and seven remixes done by the judges. Maybe this will inspire Nash to move beyond the tired pop formula.