Zoe Scott,
Beautiful to Be Alive
(Zeus, 2007)

English-born, U.S.-based Zoe Scott starts her debut CD Beautiful to Be Alive off on such a promising note. The first song by this singer/song-writer/guitarist, "Wildflower," is more rock-folk than folk-rock, but it is still a catchy tune. John Rzeznik (Goo Goo Dolls) plays lead guitar. The gist of the song is that the girl Zoe is singing about was "born to be free" and goes with the breeze. "Wildflower" is extremely radio-friendly.

"Beautiful to Be Alive," the title track, is perhaps one of the more folksy tracks. It has a good sentiment. The melody is rather slow and, with some of the background keyboards, it sounds a little dreamy at times. The lyrics are a little repetitive since Zoe repeats the title probably a hundred times within the song, but at least it is easy to sing along with.

Zoe's first single off the CD is "Planet Love." This track is an all rock track -- not even a glimmer of folk. This is also the first track to indicate you might not be listening to a CD full of music similar to the first three songs. While the transition from low-key to head-banging caught me off guard, I ultimately came around to enjoy this track to some degree. It is rather aggressive compared to what I was expecting after the first several songs, however. You have been warned.

While Zoe has some decent music on Beautiful to Be Alive, she also put in some filler that should have stayed in the studio. The worst of this lot is "Goddess" -- for the lyrics if nothing else. In the middle of the track she quits singing and in regular speech intones "When the God and Goddess sit side by side / And the earth lives in peace and harmony / Then there will be an end to duality / Love will reign supreme / And we will all reach our COSMIC Destiny!" I'm sure a lot of feminists are thinking I'm sexist and that I have trouble with the thought of "the Goddess." Nope! I just have trouble with sappy lyrics.

An equally bad track can be found near the end of the CD. If you want to hear Zoe yell and wail real loud, then "Waiting for the Sun" is just the thing for you. It gives me a headache. Speaking of duality, Zoe has a Jekyll/Hyde singing complex. When she wants to, she has a better than average singing voice and has penned some good tunes along with fellow song-writers Victoria Scott, Tim Pierce, Don Boyette and Mark Blasquez. Then there are times when her vocals are shaky, and you have to wonder why there is such dichotomy on the music she places back-to-back on this CD.

About half the songs on Beautiful to Be Alive are actually pretty decent. Zoe doesn't have the best vocals in the world, but on the more folk-rock offerings, they aren't bad. The lyrics are sometimes a little too "new-age" in my opinion, but still palatable. Unfortunately, Zoe has a bunch of rock tracks that simply doesn't mesh well with the folkier side. In short, I can recommend a little over half of Zoe's debut.

[ visit the artist's website ]

review by
Wil Owen

8 March 2008

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