Girls and Boys
Regardless of whether you've actually heard any of Ingrid Michaelson's songs on "Grey's Anatomy" or Old Navy commercials, you're familiar enough with her work by virtue of its close derivation to the endless stream of contemporary female singer/songwriters who have come before her. She melds jazzy acoustic strums, bouncy rhythms and cute cooing vocals in roughly the same way you've heard from acts like Michelle Branch, Bic Runga, Vanessa Carlton, et al. Michaelson's slant on things errs more on the indie side and sometimes comes close to Feist's minimal, but sonically rich arrangements. If anything is to blame for Boys and Girls' relative lack of success, it's Michaelson's predilection for "dark" subject matter. Writing simple, pretty pop songs, filling them with her life's emotional hardships and titling them "Die Alone," "Masochist," and "Breakable" smacks of emo contrivance. Listeners searching for music that commiserates with their despondency would be better served searching out Sweden's El Perro Del Mar or Frida Hyvonen or simply waiting for the next flash-in-the-pan American songstress.