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Music Review: Meiko – Meiko

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It’s been said that nothing is original anymore. Case in point, it was recently brought to my attention that Led Zeppelin stole “Dazed and Confused” from a relatively unknown folk artist by the name of Jake Holmes (thanks Furious.com).

Thus, I’m often torn between whether I think a new artist is "influenced by" or "sounds like" another artist. In the punk scene, for instance, where chord progressions and drum beats are passed from band to band like a good joint, what makes something new and fresh has more to do with small modifications than reinventing the wheel.

So if you’re going to do it, then do it well. Is there more than a smattering of Feist and Cat Power in the music of Meiko? Sure, but it’s not like they invented their style either. Also, I have to tip my hat to any artist that does so much chart damage yet still remains indie. And by indie, I don’t mean an indie label; I mean independent.

And Meiko is independent. In 2007, she released her debut album — called simply enough, Meiko — with no record label and virtually no help. Well, maybe a little bit of help. Nic Harcourt of KCRW in Los Angeles quarterbacked the young singer/songwriter on his hit show, Morning Becomes Eclectic. The album ended up hitting number 35 on the iTunes Top 100 and has sold almost a quarter of a million songs.

So why all the fuss? Meiko writes catchy pop tunes and plays them well. “Maybe Next Year” is a lovely rant about people who might have been too naughty this year for Christmas presents. “Boys with Girlfriends” is a song about guys who have problems with fidelity. “Reasons to Love You” is in the form of a question, not an answer, as in, 'What possible reason do I have to love you?'

Meiko doesn’t stray far from the familiar pastures of lovelorn songstresses. Most of her songs are sad laments about the evil things that men do. And, yes, the music is a little familiar. But she does it well.

With recent appearances on The Bonnie Hunt Show and Late Night With Conan O’Brien as well as scoring over 13 million song plays on her MySpace page, it looks like Meiko is set to become the next big thing.

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