The Good: Fun song, Decent b-side
The Bad: Both are album cuts, Nothing new, Short!
The Basics: Two good songs do not justify even the mild expense of the c.d. single “Mouth:” pick up The Garden (with both these tracks and more!) instead!
As I find myself once again contemplating the unsold c.d. pile at my local library (damn their slowness with their interlibrary loan requests this past week!), I find myself in the weird position of reviewing a disc I once had, but donated to the library for sale some years ago. As a result, it became pretty much impossible from the outset for me to recommend the single “Mouth” by Merril Bainbridge, despite the fact that the song and its b-side are fun songs.
But, the truth is, no matter how fun “Mouth” and the b-side “Julie” (which is quite a bit sadder) are, the c.d. single is a rapidly dying medium and c.d. singles like “Mouth” are perfect examples of why that is not necessarily a bad thing. “Mouth” and “Julie” (on the U.S. single for “Mouth”) are both album cuts lifted directly off The Garden. There are no differences and as such, listeners are just as likely these days to be able to find the c.d. that has these two tracks (and more) for about the same price as the c.d. single, making this a pointless investment. There are plenty of songs on the eclectic The Garden that are worth listening to, not just “Mouth” and “Julie.”
With only the two songs, occupying just under seven and a half minutes on c.d., “Mouth” is a terrible investment, but it is a decent example of the song stylings of Merril Bainbridge. Bainbridge wrote both songs and provides the lead and backing vocals on the songs. Bainbridge did not play any musical instruments on the songs, nor was she responsible for producing either of them.
Both songs are very much pop songs from the Australian “one-hit wonder.” “Mouth” is an upbeat, keyboard driven song that peaked in the Top 5 in the U.S. It has the implicitly sexual lyrics “Would it be my fault if I could turn you on? / Would I be so bad if I could turn you on? / When I kiss your mouth I want to taste it / Turn you upside down, don't want to waste it / I jump on you, / you jump on me / You push me out . . .” (“Mouth”) no matter how Bainbridge wants to spin it. It is a peppy little pop love song which is a lot of fun, but ultimately forgettable.
On the flip side, the pop ballad “Julie” has Bainbridge performing more in the folk tradition, even vocally. With quiet guitars, she sings “She stops for coffee every morning / Grabs the paper while she is yawning / Wishing she was still in bed / And though her cup is always full / The 8 am express is leaving her without / A choice to stay . . . Julie, / Julie don't you know / You're riding on a carousel / That's going nowhere round and round” (“Julie”) which characterizes well the sense of loss people feel in the modern world servicing their crummy jobs.
Both songs feature Bainbridge’s perky soprano voice which sounds unnaturally perky on “Mouth” and is hard to take seriously on “Julie,” though she has a melodic voice. Bainbridge’s voice is the essence of an auditory smile and it is hard to imagine her doing anything but beaming through her songs, even though “Julie” is a bit more melancholy than her famous “Mouth.”
Ultimately, it’s a moot point. The Garden is often found dirt cheap because Bainbridge’s musical star has set. As a result, it’s a much better deal to pick up that album than this two-track “single.” The low rating of this is not because of quality, but because so much more is available for less when one does get The Garden as opposed to just “Mouth.”
For other interesting female artists, be sure to check out my reviews of:
South - Heather Nova
Human Again (Deluxe Version) – Ingrid Michaelson
Promised Land - Dar Williams
For other music reviews, please be sure to check out my Music Review Index Page for an organized listing of all the albums and singles I have reviewed!
© 2012, 2010 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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