Voodoo Album Review, Written by Airick Kehela

The introductory track to Alexz Johnson’s long awaited album, Voodoo, Succeeded at giving the listener a front seat to the world of Alexz’s vibe, and truth-bound inspired lyrics. Like those of Chicago, Rent, and recent -Runaways, this album shows promise of being the next rock-opera/musical inspired motion picture film. Through her eclectic-jazzy-electro-symphonic-pop-rock influenced music, and her pronounced mature-bluesy vocals, Alexz and brother Brendan, make this anticipated album a big hit!
Her lyrics are awe inspiring, divulging an experience, induced by the truths of the industry. Voodoo expresses plenty in few words. The rawness of being held captive in an industry that only shows ultimatums and conditional promise. With lyrics like, “I know you’re looking at your shadow/And getting by by the kindness of strangers/You got me wearing my stilettos/And now I’m looking out for any kind of danger/You got the prowl of a tiger/Ya baby I can see your stripes…” her metaphor goes the distance to express her dissonance with the labels of the ‘titans’.

Gonna Get it
Grab your tambourine, because this track is a crowd pleaser. Gonna get it, opens with a shout of rhythmic frustration. The second track on this senior album trails more of what the listeners wanted from Voodoo, which is music-laden-truth. Opening lyrics, “Maybe it’ll never come around/Maybe let you push me to the ground/I’ll go ’cause if I don’t it’s taking me down/And I deal ’cause none of it is real/I deal ’cause I’m covering to heal/I’ll go no need to reap the seeds that I sow…” and a ‘Na-na-na-na-na’ attitude, express her vindication, validation against her neglecting ‘past’. Ms. Johnson’s music found a more supportive label, which allowed her to benefit equally and grow. Alexz shows promise of not succumbing to the bellows of the industry, and lets her voice shine with an “Ooh” that’ll get you weak in the knees!

Look At Those Eyes
A reflective piece, initiated by a mellow synthesizer, then, the electric guitar hits its queue. Opening lines, “…I see the flicker of the pain on the rise/Oh my look at those eyes/Maybe they’re like mine/Things I wish I did not see/I push away all the dirt and debris/But what’ll be left of me/No tell me it’s not so/That people will come and they’ll go/We push away all the love that we know/No tell me it’s not so…” evoke the relentlessness and the connection to ‘what’ she’s seen, thus, the experiences are the crux of deep-seeded feelings of leaving a ‘work of art’ behind, as it’s scattered to the wind like debris. Close your eyes as you listen, and imagine music from the opening scene of ‘Kill Bill’, allow the energy and desertedness it exudes to wash over you, as you are in the moment. It’s the “Dirty Harry” / “High Noon” scene, except, it’s Alexz vs. The industry. Look at those eyes, has a mixture of different musical textures that create this exuberant pop ballad. Wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, this track reminds you, no matter what, you’re not alone. As the music and momentum pick up speed, like the wings of an eagle in Native American folktales, joined by the beat of the (bongos/drums) it gives flight, which is often sought during times of much needed freedom. The climactic vibrancy of strings that bring in the soul of an orchestra turns that old dusty black-and-white saloon, into a beautifully lit ambient amphitheater, with Alexz on stage. Not forgetting those who turned their backs, she still reached her oasis in a desert, bringing the track to a close; once she’s reached home, “but what’ll be left of me?” her voice ironically trails away like debris. Acknowledging she knows- you know it’s her that’s strong and still lingers like the wind.

L.A. Made Me
This track has ‘Performance Art’ written all over it. The fourth track on Voodoo is made for the stage! The entire album is absolutely tireless; every track is a single in its own rite. Voodoo is an album of singles. So listen up! For everyone out there who thinks LA will make his or her dreams come true, it does at a price. LA, “L.A, L.A why so shady? /I’ll do it, / I’ll do it, / I’ll do it, / I’ll do what you say/She said/she said: L.A won’t let me go, / L.A owns my soul/L.A won’t let me go, / L.A owns my soul…” is a provocative, heart-felt, fearless track that exemplifies the unabashed hidden agenda of what the industry is capable of once you relinquish your right to exist –so to speak. LA, is a juxtaposition of emotions as it starts you off smiling, and brings you to tears, as it closes.

A Little Bit
This track makes me smile! It could sneak into a motion picture soundtrack out there!!
A Little Bit, is that song that gets the crowd clapping, jumping and makes ‘em start dancing. I recommend listening to this track with some headphones, the ‘gimme love-reverb’ part alongside the bass and Xylophone mixed in, will even make you feel sexy! (2:35-2:40-this part of the track makes me go crazy in love) Alexz Johnson has the kind of voice that resonates with your soul. With harmonies laden bittersweet bass and ambient melodies, “It’s only gonna get crazy/If you let me give you away/ when you call me your baby, / It’s all okay/ It’s only gonna get messy/If you’ve got dirt on your floor/And when you told me you want me/I want you more, / yeah I want you more…” will definitely be on your next mix! You know this song is a chick-pick, but a good one at that! So listen up and pay attention! This one’s for you guys, she likes your sweater because it smells like you, so give your lady more than a little bit of love!

Mr. Jones
Who is Mr. Jones? What is this about? Why is he ‘stepping in, to step out’? Imagine The music video takes place in a 1920’s burlesque/saloon, inspired by some New Orleans soul. The color theme here is black and red. The song evokes the sensuality and temptation of the allegorical ‘business man’. Mr. Jones is an ambient, synthesized pop song exploiting the need to always be someplace else…hmm, the secret agent/double identity interjection leading up a hotel room, which happens to be the Ritz, which is introduced by the second verse, “Fine dine better wine then the rest/He’s got looks to kill/In touch, but never too much/Oh no alone left with the bill/Black hat/, Cadillac, / lots of cash/Lots at stake/Quick wits/ got a room at The Ritz/Can’t judge a man by what he makes…” This song is symbolic of what really happens behind closed doors, with execs, and a briefcase that may have texts/songs, which could have been published, but coincidentally vanished?! -Just a guess…

An emotive introduction transcends into the new road, Alexz coincidentally ‘wandered’ onto. Her lyrics, ” My hands are ice/It’s out of my control/It’s a change of heights, see/I wandered off the road…” are demonstrative of the transgressions between the record label and Alexz. “Her hands are ice”, is allegorical to how cold blood can run, due to deception and unsettling news. As it settles in, she sings, “So what is coming? /It’s out of my control/You see I’ve got no power/It’s just electrical cords/But there’s a superstition/Hang on to the hope/See if there’s a vision/You’ve gotta let it show. /I’m looking in the mirror/I’m in the middle/Staying alive/I’m trying not to fear her/There’s too much static/She’s hard to fight…” The seventh track “Superstition” is poignant, resolute and melodically emotes the internal struggle and deception of which was present. If you read between the lines, so to speak, you’ll know who the she is. Alexz is in the mirror representing the fact that it’s her in the middle and can only do little. The only thing to do, is relinquish the ties that bound her. Powerless Alexz is perceived; yet so powerful she is with her vision and gift of music, thus “Superstition” emerges and soars!

Trip around the world
The epitome of “Voodoo” is “Trip around the world”. This track has the allegretto you seek and conveys the certainty of the matter: being in the’ biz’ as a real artist and not a manufactured, overproduced and recycled image. At the end of the day, it’s always about money to the people in three-piece suites and briefcases. Alexz can only do what she does best, find a positive outlook by overcoming the fetters of the music industry, “You love it, I love it, I love it when you’re free/Anyway you look at it it’s how it’s meant to be/Nine to five is becoming a disease/Not even a second left to bandage up your knee/Make the rules to your own game/Sip your champagne and tell ‘em where to get some/At the end of the day enjoy the taste/We’re on a big balloon floating in space…”
Alexz has a reassuring way letting the listeners know, she’s not going anywhere and she’s here to stay! “Trip around the world” will get anyone singing.

Hurricane Girl
We all grow up, yet Alexz and Brendan give you the ninth track on this fantastic album, “Hurricane Girl”. It seamlessly shows the maturity and personal growth of a multitalented twenty-four year old woman. Alexz’s profound depth of emotion is set in her voice. “Show me love, show you love/It’s like a trick, we have to rise above/Let me face you in the eyes/Let you know that when I did, I die/Oh we came that way…” Not always can you find an artist that keeps her consistency with its indie-pop-rock vibe and poetic symbolism, while still managing to connect her new found independence with her listeners. Hurricane Girl assuredly puts the image of Alexz on an open road, back on track with a fusion of hurt, growth and a guitar on her back. This song should definitely be released acoustic. You may need a tissue, because once you connect, you’ll know.

“Taker” starts off acoustic and in strikes the symphony. The symphony isn’t just the strings; it’s Alexz and her climactic voice. Taker appears to express the feelings of rage and love combined to create a doorway into her mind and spirit. Alexz is that of an evasive wounded artist, whose words are written above self-infliction and self-deprecation. Her resistance in trying to break free from the tears of trying so hard to defend what she believes in. Yet through the eyes of Alexz in the eyes of the stubborn Steven, it was Alexz who was the taker, when in reality the roles are reversed. His mind could only see it’s her to blame. Taker is not just a song about the trouble of two people who love; it’s also about what happens in the interim of life and the tug-of-war while in a relationship. Taker exudes Alexz’s quest for redemption and independence. With words like, “She’s says: “Forgive me! / I didn’t mean to!”/Full of every burden and she’s full of every lie/She’ll leave you dry/Sore on the floor/Salt in your eyes and a wound in your soul/Don’t forgive her/Don’t believe/She’s on a mission and this girl is me…” it’s evident Alexz went through one of life’s most agonizing and beautiful experiences, and that’s falling in and out of love at this age. The irony is: throughout the track, Alexz seems to castigate herself, yet in the end it’s her that has the liberation she sought. “You think you know/ think you know/ think you know, / but you don’t/You think you’re right /think you’re right/ think you’re right, / but you’re wrong…” Its only songs like these that make you realize Alexz is still a person, who lives and experiences life like the rest of us. The only difference is, Alexz can do it, make a song about it, and lets you know you’re not alone.

Boogie love
“Boogie love” is the song you want to hear live in an outdoor concert, with the sun shining, and the grass dancing underneath your toes, with the same respect hearing it as the sun sets. This song exudes celebration. “Hey mister/I’ll whisper a message to deliver/
On fire/No liar could ever say that you’re not smokin’/you’re smokin’/Yeah, we’re smokin’…” Those lyrics are just the beginning of ‘painting the picture’ of just how good things are, and how uplifted Alexz was. It would definitely be the ending song at the end of the rock-musical we call Voodoo ::smirk:: Only can the electric guitar, drums, and backup-vocals with audio-background-effect display the realism of how wonderful it is to know you succeeded and had the support of dearly loved ones- and Alexz did just that. Boogie love has the absolution and vindication you wanted for Alexz since the beginning of “Voodoo”. The order in which these tracks were placed is absolutely perfect. I congratulate Alexz and Brendan, for they couldn’t have picked a better track to close the album with. Funny thing too, put the entire album on repeat, and Boogie love doesn’t seem to feel like the end. There could be another album in the works. I can’t wait to hear it!

I highly recommend you go out and get a copy of this wonderful melodic album.

This entry was posted on Monday, April 5th, 2010 at 2:37 am and is filed under Airick, Alexz Johnson, Guest Writers, Music. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


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