Dreaming In Romance Languages

Catie Curtis

Vanguard Records, 2004


REVIEW BY: Andrea Callahan


I was given the Catie Curtis album Dreaming In Romance Languages because I like "chicks with acoustic guitar" music. Catie Curtis is definitely a chick with an acoustic guitar.

The jacket material, which often lists song lyrics and other artists featured on the album, listed only the sales testimonial that stated that Catie Curtis was a "folk goddess" and that her music was used on Dawson's Creek and other TV shows. It was almost as if I was being dared to not like the music on this album. I found the Catie Curtis Web site to find out more about the artist since the jacket material was so sparse. As it happens, this is Curtis' ninth released album. She is, in fact, called a "folk goddess" by her fans. I will not be joining her fans. I also hereby accept the dare to not like this album.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The folk music that I know and love normally has great, deep, meaningful lyrics. The lyrics tell a story that evoke an emotional reaction and makes me think. If lyrics are poetry, I guess Catie Curtis has been reading Faulkner, because I can't understand the story, the poem, or anything more that random sentence fragments shoved together in an even more random sequence. From "Deliver Me" comes this bit of mush:

"But I got a wishbone and I don't need your / Condescending sympathy / All the angels that I know are fallen and broken / Soaking in the muddy river"

HUH? What does a wishbone have to do with receiving sympathy? Readers may have to take this on faith, but I truly couldn't find links to subjects in other parts of the song, either.

Sometimes, though, lyrics are not as important if the overall song has a good melodic sound, sort of like certain lullabies. Catie Curtis does have a generally good musical sense. The guitar and background accompaniment (whoever they are) sound reasonably okay. When Curtis isn't trying to do anything weird, she has a reasonably good, if somewhat deep voice. Unfortunately, she doesn't stick with what she's good at. She keeps trying to break to falsetto, and it sound like she's got something stuck in her throat. Her tones wander when she's outside her comfort zone. "Life Goes On" is an excellent example of why Catie should stick to the lower notes, and not try to shift high every other bar.

There, I took the dare. There are probably hundreds of Catie Curtis fans who have seen her live that now want to kill me. I apologize if I have offended you. Hopefully her other eight albums warrant fandom much more than this one.

Rating: D

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2004 Andrea Callahan 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 Vanguard Records, and is used for informational purposes only.