Melissa Bel proves age means nothing. At 20 she is throwing down soulful melodies that could put even the most experienced singer to shame. She’s got that girl power thing emanating from her lyrics. It’s not that lip gloss wearing, gum smacking, and platform shoe donning girl power. This is that raw stuff, borderline unhinged.
Acoustic guitar in tow, Bel doesn’t need all the bells (no pun intended) and whistles to glam out her sound. Her guitar presents her lyric’s point of view in tandem with a powerful set of pipes. She’s got the recipe for all that is good in the singer/songwriter genre. Once you turn on her album, Brave, you will find yourself entranced with its beautiful anguish.
Aside from her vocal range, her songs have a nice variety as well. “I wish you would kiss me” is poppy without giving you toothache (it’s not sugary). The only way to describe it is modern-retro-soul fusion. Albeit, modern-retro is an oxymoron, but that’s what it is. Not in that ‘why did bell bottoms ever make a comeback’ kind of way, more like the ‘vinyl LPs are making a comeback’ kind of way.
Pop sound aside, Bel has mastered the art of the soul ballad. “Better things to do” paints the portrait of one angry lady. Someone has done her wrong, and between her deep lyrics and powerful guitar strumming you find yourself feeling bad for the poor fool that has screwed her over, because you know he has it coming, bad. She’s not messing around.
Something else to point out is the non repetitive quality of her work. Her songs don’t beat you into repetitive oblivion like most songs these days, its storytelling. I suppose since her songs are about 3-4 minutes long they are technically vignettes. Semantics aside, it’s fresh.
Bel’s talent makes you forget the song/subject matter is sad, at times tragic. It’s that pretty. At the risk of sounding cliché I don’t want to say it’s beautiful but I’ll run the risk and say it anyway. It’s beautiful.
Sounds like-If Joss Stone and Sheryl Crow had a baby and Aretha Franklin was its godmother.
Hot Tracks: I Hate to Say It , I Wish You Would Kiss Me, Distance
Manasa Vedula-MuzikReviews.com Contributor
May 20, 2010