Sirens, according to Greek mythology, were part human and part bird and lived on a rocky island near Italy. They sang melodies so beautiful that the passing sailors were enchanted and couldn’t resist getting closer to them. Some would even jump from their boats in an attempt to get closer. The end result was always the same, disaster on the rocky shores of the island.
The legend was only part of the reasoning behind naming this collection of beautiful, soulful melodies Siren Songs. The tunes are so melodic and so stunning you almost overlook the deep and dark grieving from which they were conceived. The album was written as part of Lieberum’s mourning process for her dear friend, Serena Karlan, and she liked the similarity between the words “Siren” and “Serena.”
So in naming the album Siren Songs, I’m warning you that although the songs are pretty, there is some heavy stuff in there. Another reason I decided upon the title Siren Songs is that I had played with the idea of calling the album Serena Songs. I like that “Siren” sounds similar to “Serena”.
The songs are incredibly intricate and equally as appealing with soft, pretty tones and instrumentation that is complex and layered in such away that every time you listen you hear something you missed the previous time. The style is a refined mix of classic jazz and something much more modern, for which Lieberum is becoming known.
A good example of her talent is the first track on the CD, her version of the standard “Key Largo,” upon which she leaves her finger prints and gives a modern edge. The instrumentation is as rich and somber as her incredible voice. The tone of the entire album is set from the first note of that first song.
“You Closer” is another stand-out track; in this one the soft, longing lyrics are camouflaged behind a more pronounced beat. The lyric, “Please let me believe in some hereafter,” sums up the longing, plea-filled message, but the instrumentation is uplifting and hopeful and the result is a pleasing balance.[ADBLOCKHERE]”Beauty of Mine” is another track that quickly became one of my favorites; another example of Gretchen putting her uniquely modern edge on a song whose origin is obviously rooted in classic jazz. I am struck by an image of romantic candlelight, flowing and billowing satin. “Paper Tigers” also follows with a romantic feel, highlighted by the singer’s purring, hazy voice.
As sweet to the ear these songs are, the grief-filled lyrics cannot be ignored. The end product is not depressing, however, quite the contrary. The engaging combination is as alluring to the listener as the songs of the sirens were to the passing sailors.
Gretchen Lieberum is Blogcritics featured artist for the month of February. Keep your eyes on Blogcritics.org throughout the month for more coverage, including an in-depth interview.
- “Key Largo”
- “Paper Tigers”
- “You Closer”
- “Find My Way”
- “Keep On Walking”
- “Beauty of Mine”
- “The Fall”
- “Can You Hear Me”