Jen Foster – Ordinary Girl (Jen’s Big Music, BMI 2001)
By Elizabeth Nitz
In the title track of Ordinary Girl, Jen Foster sets the tone for the rest of the album. Layered with string arrangements, guitars, horns, and lots of keyboards, her music has a warm, flowing tone. She is not afraid to play with samples and each song has a unique intro.
Her Michelle Branch-style songwriting is comfortable to listen to and has just a bit of an edge to keep it from being too main-stream. Jen’s vocals are strong without being overly refined and contain an enormous amount of feeling.
“She” belongs on an episode of Dawson’s Creek with its empowering message and driving undercurrent, fading only to strings at the end. The heartfelt, angry rock ballad “Taken” is followed by a more playful Latin-beat song, “Chain Lover,” showing two different moods, neither compromising her powerful emotional offering.
“Medicine” is a spirited, more acoustic number in the mood of Toad the Wet Sprocket. Her lyrics go from sad and personal to global and upbeat, such as, “We were meant to shine our light into the dark,” in “When I Grow Up.”
This record is for anyone who likes a good dose of passion in a landscape of interesting, changing pop/rock music.
For more information, see www.jenfoster.com