Helen Slater,
One of These Days
(Landsleit, 2003)

Although One of These Days is Helen Slater's debut as a recording artist, her name and face are probably already familiar to you. In 1984, she became known to millions as the title character in Supergirl. She followed that up with many other movie, TV and stage roles. A songwriter since her High School of the Performing Arts days, Slater finally enters the recording arena with 10 self-penned songs.

When asked to describe her musical style, Slater said, "I would characterize my music as reminiscent of the '70s. Carly Simon, Carol King, Joni Mitchell, Ricki Lee Jones and Laura Nyro, with hints of musical theatre in there."

The theatrical "hints" in Slater's songs are quite noticeable. There are poignant key changes, meaningful tempo modulations and affective phrasing. These devices are not used so heavy-handedly as to cause one to imagine Nathan Lane singing and dancing while the disc is playing, but Slater's dramatic background definitely does come through in her songwriting.

The primary instrumentation in this offering is Slater's piano. There are supplementary additions to add texture, such as the pennywhistle in "Greenland," the flute in "Typical," the violin in "Robin's Egg" and "Remember Last Sunday," and bits of percussion here and there. The piano is perfect for the emotive ebb and flow present in the uncomplicated melodies that make up One of These Days.

Slater's voice is like aural chiffon: gauzy, delicate, light. She knows her instrument well and delivers her tunes clearly and expressively. The comforting consistency of the vocals makes it easy to lose focus and find yourself on the fifth or sixth track before you know it. Most of the songs don't compel one to sing along, but the collection is a relaxing and pleasant listening experience.

While multi-tasking entertainers are certainly not rare these days, multi-talented entertainers are more difficult to come by. Helen Slater falls into the latter category, for sure.

- Rambles
written by Valerie Fasimpaur
published 27 August 2005

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