It’s a very common occurrence in the music world to come across a stereotypical artist, album, or sound. Now when I say stereotypical, I don’t mean cliche, I mean relating to a certain group or demographic and after sitting down with my girlfriend to listen to the new Sea of Bees release, it has become apparent that music is now being made for all the girlfriends out there. “Girlfriend rock” seems to be all sorts of different, but at its core, indie tones and common voices reign supreme.
The reason for a girlfriend stereotype is because the majority of college and post-college women tend to gravitate toward female vocalists working with acoustic guitar-driven music. There is no if, ands, or buts about it… look around, the demographic is real and has a very large group of supporters.
Julie Baezinger is the main woman behind the Sea of Bees and her new album, Songs for the Ravens, is everything coffee house with a pinch of 90’s sad-rock thrown in for good measure. Most of the new record finds Baezinger crooning her way through almost all of the songs with nothing but an acoustic guitar and a backing band. In the sense of everything common and respectively boring, the majority of Songs for the Ravens doesn’t pull off anything new and exciting. The album is mellow with hints of sadness and handfuls of uplift.
When a song like “Marmalade” would randomly pop up into the track-list, though, interest finally found its way into my head. On this album, songs like this have dark, shoegaze tones and feel like they were ripped out of the Smashing Pumpkins’ handbook. The right kinds of harmonies and distortion are here, but saving the album from falling down into that “same-ole” hole is nearly impossible.
Setting the few unique songs aside, Julie Baezinger doesn’t do anything different to save herself from becoming another victim of the coffee house epidemic. This widespread disease has bands coming and going at a very quick rate and when nothing new comes along to try and save the “same-ole”, well, then the artist just disappears. With “girlfriend rock” finding its way onto almost every college girl’s iPod, Sea of Bees will find some play time. Once this generation grows up and passes along, though, I don’t think we’ll find any more use for this group or music like it.