Day 14


River North Records, 1998

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


There is something that's often missing in the world of light pop - soul.

I don't mean to suggest that we need to hear Ray Charles or Aretha Franklin influences in pop. But a lot of what I hear on the radio (and, in some cases, in what I review) sounds very sterile, as if what I'm hearing was created in a lab, not in a recording studio.

In the case of Ronna, her debut disc Day 14 suffers from this fate. To her credit, she does discover some emotion and conveys it in some songs well, but by then it's too late.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

When you have a disc produced by former Chicago bassist/vocalist Peter Cetera, one might expect the album to sound like his old group. Fortunately, this is not the case; Ronna is allowed to develop her own unique style and voice on this album. The problem is, Ronna still is developing her style, so many of the performances on the first half of the disc sound tentative.

Things start out well with "Heart Shaped World," but Ronna soon shows the weaknesses in her musical development. The very next track, "Everything Comes To You," is a major step down both musically (the rhythm seems very jagged) and lyrically ("Your two-way mirror has got no doors"?) Other tracks, such as "13 Days Of Daisy" and "Sweet Pretender", almost seem like Ronna is trying to turn each song's verses into a novel - simplicity is sometimes the best path.

There were one or two times where it seemed like Ronna was having difficulties staying on-key - namely, the album's closer "Convince Me", which admittedly has a weird chord progression from the bridge to the chorus.

However, this isn't to say that Day 14 is a bad album; it's just that it often sounds like Ronna is not singing from the heart. Often, Ronna's sound is similar to that of Sheryl Crow, but Ronna's voice just doesn't seem to emote the same way that Crow's does.

Finally, Ronna seems to wake up and kicks things into gear. Tracks like "Nowhereville" and "New York Rain" are among the best on Day 14, and they highlight just how good her music can be once things start clicking. Too bad the energy level isn't continued on tracks like "Waiting For You" - though it picks up again on "One Fine Day".

Cutting an album is every musician's dream, and Ronna is obviously thrilled to be living out that dream on Day 14. But while this album shows some promise, it also shows that dreams need constant work - and she has her work cut out for her.

Rating: C+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 1999 Christopher Thelen 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 River North Records, and is used for informational purposes only.