Gina Holsopple,
Rain Princess
(self-produced, 2002)

Rain Princess is an exercise in contrast. On the front of the album is a young, petite Gina Holsopple, while contained in the album is a collection of songs that exude experiences well beyond her possible age. I guess Holsopple is one of those people with the rare gift of early maturity and insight.

These qualities create an album that is a marriage of E.E. Cummings' nonsensical whimsies with Virginia Woolf's stream-of-consciousness, whose offspring is a delightful mixture of delirium, joy and confusion. From notions of the absurd to social commentary to sweet love songs, Holsopple's gentle, inviting vocal style makes any subject curiously odd and approachable.

Her gentility is especially evident in the title track, "Rain Princess." This song, more than any other on the album, is pure imagination somehow caught in words. It's a beautiful abstract song that is perfect for her voice. Her voice also suits the role of narrator in "Maria," a sad but true story similar to many women stuck in abusive relationships. Sadly, the fear of what life could be overrides the life that is. Maria can hope and think of a better life but is confined to her reality.

Holsopple doesn't limit her songs to soft and serene. "How Much I Love You" is the catchiest tune that explains the confusion of love that is embedded with curiosity and joy and pain. "What Do You See" is a fun quirky song that deconstructs everyone's favorite heroines of bedtime stories (Cinderella, Rapunzel, Goldilocks, etc.) There's also the curious song "Kaleidoscope" (a perfect title for this song). She covers concepts that do seem to be self-regenerating -- everything has happened before yet its newness is the only difference. Just like a kaleidoscope, you're seeing the same things over and over, it's just broken by a prism.

From her off-kilter conceptual demeanor to her shy voice, Gina Holsopple has this appealing gentle quality that evokes wisdom, despite her youthful, pixieish appearance. It's this haunting hypnotic effect that makes me want to sit down and hear what she has to say. (I would love to hear her perform live.) Rain Princess is truly the effort of an artist, a collection of challenging and intriguing songs.

- Rambles
written by C. Nathan Coyle
published 23 August 2003

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