Album Reviews

Music You Don't Know You Like Yet

RACHEL ZYLSTRA

Before You Could Decide

2008-12-14

Rachel Zylstra left Grand Rapids for New York City in 2004, but her Midwestern perspective continues to reveal itself on her latest seven-song independent release. Like our obsession with the weather: "Walked down the street/The weather's colder/Than I expected/When I looked out the window" from the slice-of-life "Upper East Side" and "The rain keeps falling outside and I'm resigned/There will be no sunshine this weekend" from the sophisticated closer "This Weekend." Or our introspection on relationships: "This is just too smooth for you/This is too plain easy/Girl keeps spilling ink for you/Boy could take or leave me" from the excellent opener "Epilogue" and "I'm testing myself, but now in a different way/Tell me if I make the grade and I'll tell you if it's going to be a good day" from the sassy "Ruined Me Good." Those four tracks are the highlights of this set, but Rachel has delivered seven fine songs that pare down the number of words from her previous releases without sacrificing anything on the story-telling side. Just a girl and her piano -- and she's got us. We're in. We want to hear her tell her musical tales. The Village Voice has called Rachel "Michigan's Nellie McKay," and I take that as apt compliment: direct, confident -- but with a bit more heart. F-Pop LOCAL 12/08 Michael J.

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Compiled by the WYCE Journalism Club

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