What Love Is

Erin Boheme

Concord, 2006


REVIEW BY: Benjamin Ray


Erin Boheme is next in line among the young women who are bringing jazz-pop to a new audience. Coming on the heels of Diana Krall and the breakthrough Norah Jones Come Away With Me LP, Boheme helps create a casual airy jazz sound imbued with melodic, emotional vocals.

Ms. Boheme is only 19 and has a sort of preening pop star look about her, but she seems well-versed in the sound of the bands that backed up Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra. The disc has that retro-40s nightclub sound, a swinging feel that conjures images of Humphrey Bogart in a corner, lighting a cigar, while Marilyn Monroe sings on stage.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Because of this, Erin's vocals are what will carry her career, since the music never rises above that basic jazz sound, which is not a bad thing but makes this hardly memorable. Fortunately, she has a sultry and beautiful voice, putting most of her pop contemporaries to shame (let's just say she'd have won American Idol in a heartbeat).

Further showing her debt to Sinatra, she titles a song "One Night With Frank," name-dropping several of his bigger hits to comprise the lyrics and completing the package with a lounge-singer style that would have fit in perfectly in 1950. It's rather creative and interesting, especially because Boheme has no interest in creating modern-sounding jazz, but also because it so closely mimics the Chairman's style.

Her lyrics are typical relationship fare, of the yearning for love and crooning into a man's ear variety. "Mold me in your arms to fit the shape that you are taking / Paint me with your kiss laughing with the love we are making," she whispers on the title cut, and I was willing to fly to L.A. to do just that. "Give Me One Reason" is another highlight, a cover of the Tracy Chapman hit that does service to the original.

"Teach Me Tonight" has an interesting vibe, laid-back and sexy, perfect music to get busy to. Special note goes to David Foster, the pianist who imbues these love songs with some heart but never gets in the way of Boheme's voice. Everything comes together on "Anything," a six-minute ballad that will make you fall in love with your special someone all over again. Being newly single, I did not need to hear it, but I recognized its power, even if the lyrics are slightly trite.

Erin Boheme doesn't offer any new insights on what love is, and certainly the backup jazz is something everyone has heard before. But she is one of the best singers in pop music today, with a voice that puts pretty much every teenage woman on the Top 40 to shame. This debut release works as background or mood music and nothing more, but fans of Norah Jones or female singer/songwriters will enjoy this. And be sure to keep an eye on Erin -- she deserves to go places.

Rating: C+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


© 2006 Benjamin Ray and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Concord, and is used for informational purposes only.