Our Little Secret"I Want To Kiss You" / Edward O'Connell
Out of nowhere I get this email -- this guy likes my blog and he's just recorded a CD and would I like him to send me a copy? If you're me, you report the email as spam and change your password pronto, right? Wrong. Something stopped me from hitting that 'delete' button, and instead I responded. What the hell, I figured.
So a few days later this thing arrives in the mail. I pull it out of the envelope, and my eyes bug out when I see that album cover, a blatant rip-off of Nick Lowe's Jesus of Cool. How did this guy know of my Nick Lowe obsession? (Well, duh, he's read your blog, you silly fangirl you.)
So I'm a little leery when I put this disc into my player. But I'm telling you, it only took me about thirty seconds into track one to be glad that I had let Edward O'Connell send me this record. Not that he sounds much like Nick -- more like a slightly husky Elvis Costello, to my ears. But hey, if you've got the clever snarky lyrics to live up to it -- which Edward O'Connell amazingly does -- even that works. I have to admit, I laughed out loud at some of these songs -- like "Partially Awesome," about a guy who falls short of being totally awesome, or "Pretty Wasted," with its clinching line "she's pretty wasted, / pretty wasted on you." Loaded with hooks and highly sing-along-able, these songs have a jangly mellow quality -- power pop with the tempo notched down slightly, so that you don't miss any of that intelligent word play.
Here's a taste:
Listen to those shrewd lyrics, like: "You may be longing to hear / Something everlasting / But the men who will tell you that / All come from central casting." Or in the bridge: "I can't part the oceans / Or charm you like the Prince of Zales / I'll leave it to feckless ones / With empty arms and their fairy tales." Slipping in the name of the jewelry store Zales where you expect to hear Wales is clever enough, but I'll tell, anyone who uses the word "feckless" in a pop song -- well, he has me at hello. (Extra points to anybody who can name another pop song with the word "feckless".)
But perhaps the finest stroke in this song is the refrain, where all the word play falls away in a surge of lust: "But I yi yi YI-Iii / Want to kiss you." Sometimes it IS that simple. (Mind you, the echo of Ricky Ricardo in that "yi-yi-yi" keeps the light comic touch firmly in place.) Sure, there are other guys flocking around her, he's all too aware. But refreshing honesty just may be the thing that wins her heart.
Who is this girl? His long-term sweetheart, or just some cute chiquita walking down the street? None of that is clear; none of that needs to be clear. It's a pop song, kids. All that really matters is how he's transported by desire. Even an intensely verbal guy like this may be at a loss for words when love finally slaps him upside the head.
So who is this Edward O'Connell? you may well ask. Well, all I know so far is that he's from Washington D.C., he's been knocking around in various local bands for years, and he's got a pretty serious day job as a lawyer. (Aha! says my inner Nancy Drew -- a lawyer, hence the verbal wit.) Maybe, like many of us, he's deferred his music dreams because of that respectable, lucrative day job. But hey, after a while, you gotta give it a shot. This is Edward O'Connell's shot -- and I really hope it goes somewhere.