At first listen it’s hard to say why Danielle Brisebois’s debut album, Arrive All Over You, only sold 10,000 copies while one year later a singer named Alanis Morissette sold 16 million. Perhaps the album, released during the apex of Scrunge Alternative, was a bit too pop despite weighty Alanis-like tracks such as “What If God Fell From The Sky.” Brisebois has once again teamed up with Gregg Alexander (of New Radicals fame) for Portable Life, her new album (which, at press time, has been shelved indefinitely by RCA Records). The album includes an updated version of “Just Missed the Train” from her debut disc, a heart-wrenching ballad about love, addiction and dependency (“So sleep darling, why don’t you pretend we were just a dream?”). However, the original is more stripped-down and haunting. Brisebois’s voice is distinctive and timeless, light enough for pop radio but strong enough for a good wail. The first single, “I’ve Had It,” bares resemblance to Alexander’s railing-style (“I’m in shock/I’ve been fucked/I’m a girl knocked up”) while “If I Died Tonight You’d Have to Think of Me” and “Stop It Hurts You’re Killing Me Don’t Stop” are declarations of masochism any teenage girl or woman (or man, for that matter) can relate to. Portable Life is Smart Pop, the music sometimes too fluffy to handle the sophistication of the lyrics. Brisebois and Alexander have turned “Need a Little Love,” a likely Celine Dion title, into a clever beauty: “I’m too young to feel like this/I fell so deep into your arms I don’t exist/I’m too drunk to drive you home/And I’m so famous I’m unknown.” It’s an existentialism she might want to discuss with her shrink. Portable Life is not a huge departure from her debut but maybe by the time it gets released commercially, the climate will be right for Brisebois to finally get the attention she deserves.
- Release Date
- January 20, 1999
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