Fitting nicely alongside artists like Ingrid Michaelson and Missy Higgins, lesser-known Meiko should have quite a following after her newest release. The Bright Side capitalizes on all the things she did right on her 2008 debut, but also fixes a few things, making it much more memorable, and helping it to stand out in an ever-growing list of folky female acts out there today.
I first heard Meiko playing on Joshua Radin’s album version of “Sky,” where she had taken over vocals from Ingrid Michaelson after their EP duet. At first I was annoyed that they had replaced Michaelson’s pretty voice, but then Meiko really started growing on me, not as a replacement, but in her own way, and her harmonies on it, brightened up the already cheery tune. To my excitement, later that year Meiko actually opened for Radin at an intimate concert, and I had to run out and buy her first disc.
Her debut album was darker and a bit more contemplative than her onstage persona seemed to indicate it would be. I grew to love the moody gems like “Hawaii” and “Hiding,” but much preferred the upbeat ditties like “Piano Song” and the clever anthem “Boys With Girlfriends.” She played off both styles extremely well, but the sleepier tracks seemed to clash with the fun ones, and I wanted more of the latter.
Fortunately for everyone involved, The Bright Side is exactly what you would expect from the title, and from the upbeat tempos and unabashed lyrics, it seems like Meiko is head over heels in love. Heck, it’s even obvious from the album cover that Meiko is a woman transformed, and it’s great to hear her getting her emotions out all over the record.
The disc starts with the instant-hit “Stuck on You.” It’s infectious and full of sugary-goodness, like lyrics “You are the one I could see having fun with, not just for the night, but for the rest of our lives” and a chorus of “doo-doo-doo’s.” Check the clever music video of Meiko showing off her “domestic side” and making her famous Turkey Balls, with the accompanying recipe showing up on her website as well.
From there, the album bounces around all the different variations and stages of love, from the outright, sitting-on-cloud-nine exuberance of poppy “I’m In Love,” to the dreamy contemplative “Thinking Too Much,” where she sings about the fears of going into it headfirst. “Lie To Me” begs for the relationship to always be rose-colored and as happy as it starts out, but then she counters with the more realistic “I’m Not Sorry,” singing “When you’re old or bald or grey, I’m gonna love your wrinkly face, nobody else could love you like I do. When you get home at night, I’ll have your Crown and Sprite.”
Meiko did extremely well for herself with her first album, releasing it independently, and relying on TV spots for almost all of the tracks on it to create a buzz. Now with a major label behind her and a positive outlook on life, I only see things going upward for the young Georgia native, thanks to upbeat and honest hits like “Let It Go” and “Leave the Lights On.”
Try This Track: “I’m In Love” for the perfect blend of horns and ukulele.