Review: Maria Taylor – Overlook (2011)
Rooted in the Saddle Creek family, Maria Taylor is known as half of the duo, Azure Ray and collaborator with Bright Eyes, along with her solo work. Azure Ray released Drawing Down the Moon last year, a highly anticipated follow-up from their 2003 album, Hold On Love. 2009 saw Taylor release a follow-up solo album to Lynn Teeter Flower with Lady Luck. Now Taylor gives us another solo effort with, Overlook. Three albums in three years seems a bit exhausting, and despite the writer’s block that Taylor had during this journey, it shows in Overlook.
The album starts out with “Masterplan” sounds the typical break-up song with lyrics, “How do you emancipate?/Will she be there if you walk away?/Will you feel the same?” Even with the percussion building up to the 2:12 mark where the song goes into a more rock feel the song itself is repetitive in lyrics with its heartbreak and leaves the listener with wondering what the rest of the story is.
The strongest track on the album is “Matador”, a full on rock song for Taylor. It’s starts out with strong, contagious guitar riffs that pull you in for the entire song. Hands down it’s also the most addicting track. “He’s always got a new kill, he comes back for more/He’s a matador/They worship and adore/He’s out for blood/He’s the chosen son/He’s the chosen one”. Being the second track on the album, at first listen I expected the rest of the album to follow suit.
But the third track, “Happenstance” beings the listener back to that lament of heartbreak. “I’m not the marrying kind/I often change my mind/There’s always one that you’ll miss the most/I’m all tucked in thinking of the west coast/On this cold night in Alabama” It’s a beautiful song, and a great break-up track if you want to drink a bottle of wine and think of the past. I would suggest if you are going to do that, stay way from all social media sites.
The other change-up track is, “Bad Idea”. It’s more folk inspired and light-hearted, which is nice in the middle of an album that is filled with heartbreak. It’s still a lamenting song, with “What if I turn 49/With no husband of mine/I guess there’s just a glitch in my design”. But it’s much more “peppy” considering the rest of the tracks on the album. The mood turns once again with “Idle Mind” and makes one want to grab for the wine bottle again. Then again Taylor brings back a folk/rock feeling with “In a Bad Way”. The album leaves with the song, “Along For The Ride”, which is tender, dreamy song. It ends the album on a simple note with, “We are all alone for the ride.”
The entire album comes out in just over 30 minuets with nine tracks. It doesn’t seem like Taylor was going through writers block, considering all the albums she’s put out in the past three years. It seems that Overlook could have been two separate albums if the time were taken into consideration. One thing is very apparent in Taylor’s writing is her move from L.A. to Alabama. The lyrics are heartfelt, sad and nostalgic on Overlook, but the album outcome seemed a bit rushed. I wish that Taylor could have taken a bit more time on the album, and let the songs and theme blossom more.