I know what you’re thinking…because I thought it too. I have to admit, when the True Stories I Made Up CD arrived in my mailbox at the radio station, I found it hard to get past the album photos of the lovely Birgit, the Twirl Radio Artist of the Month for July 2007. As a music fan and DJ, I like to think that the music takes precedence over everything. But the first thing you see are the stunning pinup type photos of the Dutch celebrity actress and singer-songwriter. But then I remembered–my friend Art Herman at Zip Records regularly combs the globe for the best pop music available. And since he’s the one who sent this to me, I knew that it would be good, even before it hit my CD player.
Wow–what an album! The first minute of the first song, Tsunami, grabs you, bowls you over, and doesn’t let up. It’s a driving rocker, and it hits you like a, well, a tsunami! This is exactly what I look for in modern rock–driving guitars, a gutsy vocalist, and a guitar riff that sticks to your ribs. If you find yourself playing air guitar to it, then it’s a winner. And yes, I was. Very embarrassing at the traffic lights, but well worth it! My other favorite is track 4, Baby Please. It’s a great midtempo alternative-type pop song. This one also stays with you. I’m calling these two as the hits for American radio–they’re instant Twirl classics.
Birgit has an intriguing persona. She looks like a classic 1950’s pinup girl. Her album photos would have made Marilyn Monroe or Betty Grable proud. She is a bona fide star in the Netherlands–a stage and television actress, a DJ and a voiceover artist. Her part-Asian background is touched upon on True Stories, in Guniang, which seems to be Chinese for “girly girl”, and in the “Breathing Exercise” vignettes. There are also some arrangements which have Asian instrumentation in the mix. And–she’s from the Netherlands, but her songs are all sung in flawless English. (Oh yeah–when you visit her website at http://www.birgitmusic.com, be sure to click on the American flag, unless you understand Dutch.)
There are a lot of contemporary pop songs on the album. Hardrocking Diva and Take A Better Look are graced by a touch of R&B. Sleeping Pill, Not Just Anyone and especially the melodic Bring Me Back would fit on a soft rock station. Take A Better Look and Celebrity Trash are slightly harder, and would be at home on a Gwen Stefani album–they sound like they come right out of Orange County. A tasty cover of Kate Bush’s Wuthering Heights finishes off the album.
True Stories is not Birgit’s debut–she released Few Like Me in 2001. But this may be America’s first real look at her. And speaking of that–aren’t we the lucky ones on the West Coast–she’s touring the U.S. from July 20-28, 2007, playing only dates in California, from San Francisco to San Diego. The closest she’ll come to Sacramento is the Empire Theatre in Stockton on July 27th–but hey–that’s only about 40 miles away. And the great news is that I will be interviewing her on Twirl on Saturday, July 21st, just hours before she hits the stage in San Jose. I’m looking forward to meeting the lady who may just be the next Madonna! Congratulations to Birgit for being the Artist of the Month for July, 2007!