Lovely for a Hot Second
The immediate thing to notice about Nite Jewel’s newest record One Second Of Love is how prominent Ramona Gonzalez’s face is on the album’s cover. This is a clear attempt at giving a ‘face’ and identity to the artist. With a slew of random tracks, a record and an EP under her sleeve, she used to come off with a certain air of anonymity. Hazy vocals, lo-fi synths and shifting soundscapes either came together or didn’t to create a musical shape shift of sorts. Not knowing exactly who Nite Jewel really is was kind of her thing. Not true on this time around.
Looking to step out of her own shadows and put her vocals and personality in the forefront of the production, unfortunately, only works part of the time. The lead single and title track, as well as the Kate Bush-esque “She’s Always Watching You,” have a lightness that kind of bounces along, giving her vocals a chance to melodically freestyle over the buoyant synth lines. From there, the record continues into electro-folk territory reminiscent of Beth Orton (“Mind & Eyes”) and seems to culminate with the record’s best moment, “In The Dark.” It’s a moody ballad, fully realized with a great chorus and an almost ‘80s radio vibe.
Things get a bit sloppy after that, though. “Memory Man” jangles off to nowhere, and “Unearthly Delights” and “No I Don’t” are almost completely forgettable. This certainly serves to remind us that Nite Jewel may have taken a stab at proper song writing on this record, but she only hit her mark a few times. By the time you get to “Autograph,” a Feisty (pun intended) little love song, it’s almost too late to be awakened from your slumber. Also worth noting is the video for the “One Second Of Love,” which puts Gonzalez in the position of doing a little dance number at some sort of bachelorette party. It’s attempt at sincerity meets kitch is so clearly thought out it borders on cliche. (Hint, see Feist’s 1234 for the same idea done slightly better. Maybe Gonzalez will luck out and get her song on an iPod commercial too!)
One Second Of Love isn’t terrible, but it is clearly an attempt at making a ‘record’, and in that regard it fails. It lacks cohesiveness and the song writing is only lovely and interesting half of the time. It’s a reminder that in the age of making music on your laptop, it’s a big leap from making a lo-fi bedroom-disco record to a fully realized pop record.