By Al Kaufman
Up until a year ago, Christina Perri was a waitress and struggling songwriter. Then one of her songs, “Jar of Hearts,” was featured on “So You Think You Can Dance” and stardom ensued. “Jar of Hearts” is just the type of song that would raise a ruckus. The piano and strings swell under the melody, until the whole thing sounds like the music that would play during a big controversial scene on Glee. She proves to be just as dramatic on “The Lonely,” and also on “Tragedy,” which also offers up a bit of a Mexican flair.
Yes, Perri knows how to write a mid-tempo number that falls somewhere between a ballad and a rocker. Her piano (often played by David Hodges or John Anderson) evokes emotion, and her voice is pretty, on par with the likes of Brandi Carlisle or Colbie Caillat. The real problem is it all starts to blend together after awhile. One mid-tempo song about falling in or out of love follows another, until it all becomes so much background music. It’s all polished and pretty but begging for some dirt and grime.
The one time Perri breaks out of her formula is on “Bang, Bang, Bang,” a swinging revenge tune about an ex who gets shot by his current flame. As she spits out lines like, “Karma tastes so sweet,” it becomes obvious that she is capable of offering up some meatier material. If she can keep that up, it can be what separates her from the next generic “American Idol” winner.