After listening to this album more times than I should admit, I’ve come to the theory that this album is Anna Aaron’s version of Plato’s: “The Allegory of the Cave”. While banging away, through drums or hands, she interprets the shadows on the cave wall around her and drew me in to her world. Aaron slices her throat open and through this album, out pours a fleeting eerie narrative that haunts its way deep into the psyche of the listener and refuses to walk away.
I’ll Dry Your Tears Little Monster is a deadly combination of fresh and unproduced talent. Her lyrics are pumped full of emotional charge with the instrumental beats haunting her words as they intermingle harmoniously throughout the album. The end of the album swept me into a world where one longs for any glimmer of color and yet Aaron cleverly manipulated my desire until I found myself wanting to delve deeper into the noir world that she creates.
The album begins with “Mary Ruth”, a tale that seems lovely but those warm feelings are stolen away by the tormenting beat and lyrics. Her clever use of a myriad of instruments, including hands, emphasizes the tribal feel of the song and the sacrifice of “Mary Ruth”. By the end of the song, I may not have know “Mary Ruth” but Aaron has thoroughly convinced me to that I too am in love with her and her soul.
Bordering on angst driven melodrama, “Who Maimed You” follows “Mary Ruth”. The song almost left me feeling guilty by the end. In the first song of the album I was ready to absorb Mary Ruth into my existence and now, through the aggressive hand slapping in “Who Maimed You”, I feel as if I’ve sinned against the album. The echo of the hand slapping resonates through the speakers as Aaron’s pent-up vocals careen out warning me that I was headed down into the dark cave with her. And her brilliance is reflected when I blindly and eagerly followed her.
Delving deeper into her psyche and mine, “Let the Street Bleed” followed as a jazzy, bluesy song that rides the fence of longing carnival music. It’s very rhythmic beat briefly warmed my heart like the fire in Plato’s cave, just enough to suddenly be torn apart by the inner torment of Aaron’s voice and lyrics.
And on the cave wall, as the shadows march along, I had no problem envisioning “The Drain Out”. This slow easy moving funeral song is the Sarah Waters (author – check her out) of the album. Its inappropriate jazz rhythm made me slightly uncomfortable and yet unable to turn it off. Its undertone instrumental flow has the vibe of a 1980’s police movie theme song and yet as the final drum beat fades out I was still staring at the shadows on the wall wanting to know more.
It only left me thirsting for more drama and discovering the next song in the album: “When We Lay There”. Its repetitive beat built anxiety deep in my bones. I felt dirty for listening to the rustic bluesy ballad of what seems to be a song about stalking a love obsession. It wasn’t long before I felt as I though my arms were snuggly wrapped around me and I was in a corner rocking like a bound psychopath in a sanitarium. Aaron tries to ease the pain with a soothing hymnal tone and ending the song on a haunting note. But I fear I was too deep in the cave.
Sometimes I wonder if Plato was foreseeing the concept of a sanitarium when he wrote of the cave. If you think of the theory and envision yourself sitting in a padded cell, you might see the connections. And if you were in a cave, or padded cell you would be yelling the chorus of “A Song for Cheerups” as loudly as possible. Or maybe that’s just me. Aaron’s true raspy raw voice is exposed as she sings “ha ha ha, hey hey hey”. Such simple words that she manages to fill with more emotions than most popular songs out there today. Overall “A Song for Cheerups” did not soothe my mind as the title might suggest, instead it ripped the angst out of me and whip me repeatedly with it. I could not get enough of it and desperately wanted more.
What I believe to be the most potent song on the album is the final self-reflective song, “Nothing Left”. Emotionally devastated and looking up from the Plato’s cave of illusions, Aaron’s final song offers a glimmer of light. It seeped into my pores like an early morning love affair. Her smooth voice overshadows the warning piano trying to alert me that it’s not as it seems. And then without warning, Aaron’s lyrics and music come to life and the love affair is over. As in Plato’s cave, the brilliance is blinding and painful simultaneously. The song almost threatens to be more pop than Aaron’s folksy gut-wrenching singer songwriting abilities should allow. Her whispy chorus and dangling upbeat tempo worried me that if she develops as an artist and I don’t follow her she could turn into a mass-produced Tori Amos at the drop of hat. “Nothing Left” is irresistibly charming and dangerously flirting with the mainstream.
Anna Aaron’s talent is raw and real. With her sinister vocals, indelible lyrics, and her unusual musical arrangements this is a fantastic album. The album is a must have for anyone who can’t swallow today’s produced plastic mold.
On a scale of get it before it’s released to buy it a yard sale: If you can find it buy it and buy me one too because it’s not available in outside of Plato’s Cave (aka: Switzerland)