Kelly Willis

By - Jul 1st, 2007 02:52 pm

While an American Idol monopolizes the dial with a hit about mutilating a cheater’s automobile, Kelly Willis returns some integrity to crossover-country. This mother of four who took a five-year sabbatical since her last release to raise her children is proof that hip is possible without the need to be trashy or pseudo-political – a misconception common for her gender in the genre recently.

More “gingham aprons and bad blood” than restraining order, each song as a slice of the Translated From Love pie is fully baked and plentifully spiced. The light, flaky “The More That I’m Around You” and “Sweet Surrender” are prime candidates for any romantic comedy soundtrack. “Too Much To Lose” brings a taste of Willis’s priorities to the plate: do not take love or life for granted.

Lyrics cover everything expected – Texas towns, cheap thrills, head-over-heels affection. Unexpected is Willis’ offset of the nine originals (some co-written with her husband) with three surprising covers including Adam Green’s “Teddy Boys” and Iggy Pop’s “Success.” These tracks muddle up the album’s cohesiveness, but are amusing when heard in Willis’ made-for-country voice.

Nevertheless, creating for the public is ideally the result of having something significant to say, and however sweet the melodies and able the supporting musicians, urgency is missing from this recipe. Much like the frustration shared in “Nobody Wants to Go to the Moon Anymore,” it’s a disposable, been-there-done-that world. Translated From Love has little material worth a double take, and as a whole pie, probably won’t do more than cool on the windowsill. VS

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