Marie Digby is another one of those up-and-coming artists who found a home on Youtube, promoting her own songs and quirky covers of pop songs. There’s nothing wrong with this class of new artists, of course; there’s some real talent out there, and the internet is certainly opening up doors for a lot of people.
Digby, perhaps best known for her acoustic cover of Umbrella, delivers a collection of thirteen pop songs here on her second domestic album (she also released a collection of Japanese cover songs in March 2009). Breathing Underwater is, when you get down to it, a refreshing listen in the face of the rest of what garners attention in the pop world. Her lyrics have a level of depth and creativity that is usually missing in the whole mass-produced pop-music scene.
Unfortunately, however, the end result of Breathing Underwater is a big departure from what listeners find on her Youtube channel, or even in her previous release. This is by no means a stripped down acoustic album; no, this is drums and bass and sound effects and AutoTune. Digby’s talent is still there, certainly, but buried under all of the technological tricks and gimmicks prevalent in today’s music. I wish that her voice could just stand on its own here, because it’s not as though she’s lacking in talent.
I’m not trying to say that this is a bad album, or even a mediocre one. It’s a great listen, and I’m glad to have it in my album rotation. It’s just very different stylisticlly from what I had expected. The songs are catchy, her voice is beautiful, and I suspect that this will gather her increased attention and exposure in a way that a stripped down, girl-with-acoustic-guitar album probably would not.
“Feel”, “Machine”, “Sanctuary” (a bonus MP3 from Amazon) and the title track stand out in particular to me as really great songs. Go and check the album out, it really is a great listen. Under the drum machines and technical tinkering are some really heartfelt songs performed by an incredibly young musician. I’m just a bit sad that sometimes, the songs sound far too much like all of the other generic pop music already out there on the market.
Breathing Underwater was released on September 7, exclusively at Amazon MP3, by Hollywood Records. It will be released elsewhere on September 15.