If you've listened to enough pop music over your years of taking in culture, you'll eventually come to realize that things just can't be the way you'd want them to be. Yes, there is some truth in the existence of the lowest common denominator. Hey, it's "popular" music for a reason. A pretty big majority of listeners aren't all that interested in being challenged. They just want to have fun. Lady Gaga, Justin Beiber, Rihanna — fun is the word. Same as it ever was.
Every so often there are surprises, when music of a little more complexity and subtlety breaks through to the top. The last huge one was probably Norah Jones. I thought for sure that Regina Spektor was going to be next. She's done well but hasn't turned out to be the huge commercial phenomenon that Norah was.
Maybe this is all for the good. Not that it always happens, but I sort of hate to see artists pressured by their fame to maintain a certain direction and speed. It's also disheartening to read of the inevitable pile-on that follows after somebody hits it big. Sometimes it seems like the public enjoys knocking down the successful artist more than reveling in their good fortune.
Don't take this to mean that I'm necessarily dooming songwriter/pianist Misty Boyce to a career of obscurity and Ramen noodle dinners. I sure hope that's not what happens, though she does fit right in that gray area with material that's maybe too sophisticated for pop, too pop for the sophisticates.
On first listen, the opening track "Razor," made me think that my finger would soon be wandering over to the "eject" button. Though my ears were drawn to the sprightly verse with its staccato piano chords as well as the windup to the chorus, the arrival of that refrain just screamed "Generic!!" That's because I wasn't listening yet. Repeated visits unearthed a wealth of pop detailing, including strings shadowing the vocal melody. One particular detail stood out, but I couldn't quite figure out what it was. Then the name popped out: Olivia Newton John.