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Abel Josephson - Helicopters Over Hollywood Review
by Shannon Taylor

I don't doubt that Texas singer-songwriter Abel Josephson will have moderate success on commercial country radio - his tunes have that catchy, feel-good nature that modern day Nashville and country music fans just eat up. With this being said, it doesn't lessen or increase the quality of Josephson's music, essentially what is on offer here is soft pop/rock with some country leanings that is listenable but doesn't really bear too close a listen.

The CD starts off with a bang, with the opening chords of "Always Come Back" reminiscent Joe Cocker's version of the Beatles' classic "With A Little Help From My Friends." However, although the music is strong and undeniably catchy, the simplistic lyrics not only on this song, but throughout the CD are Josephson's main failing. Most of his songs all have the same jangly, listenable quality, but are let down by the clichι, find-the-word-that-rhymes type of songwriting such as "Tears began to fill my eye I wipe them away to my surprise/My heart had fallen fast and I knew it". The title track, even with the somewhat passι subject matter of a country girl who just doesn't belong in the city, does hold some of Josephson's better lyrics for example, "All the city slickers on the sunset strip/Wonder why you came and didn't bring a friend/These artful dodgers spike the wishing well/They connect your dreams with tonic and gin."

It is not until "Weeping Willow", the token ballad that Josephson begins to offer a sound different to the guitar driven, diet-country that dominated the first half of the disc. The music is pretty, and Josephson seems to have lifted his game slightly with the lyrics, however the following song "Top Ten" is easily recognizable as filler, with its wannabe-Santana riffs and even more pedestrian lyrics. While Josephson should perhaps be commended for trying something different with his sound, this song sounds so out of place on the disc that this perceived risk just doesn't work.

Strangely enough, the best song on the album comes in its closing track, "You Don't Know", where Josephson sounds like a cross between The Wallflowers and Keith Urban, but still manages to have a somewhat distinct sound.

Overall, Josephson's songs are definitely listenable, but like a lot of mainstream country music today, just lack soul or any genuine emotion. Josephson could easily become the next big thing in country music, because he is already very radio-friendly and unchallenging, packaged well in ten 3-4 minute ditties.

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