Tina Kang opens up coverage on rock-girl Valerie Chang’s recent EP release, extended play.

Valerie Chang, extended play EP, Indie Rock

My Google search of Valerie Chang left me empty handed – no Myspace, no link, nothing. (editor’s note: I think Tina was more likely too busy with her new job at a MOTORCYCLE CUSTOMIZING SHOP to research. -p) I usually like to research a little on what or who I’m writing about, but without much material to work with, I will have to let my flowery imagery and superflous use of adjectives do the talking. Without further delay, I present to you, the shortest review written by yours truly…ever. The Valerie Chang EP.

I’ve Got – Although this song started out possibly edgy and catchy enough, I was misled. Before I knew it, the song turned into a cotton candy covered love song. Something about this song screams innocence, innocence matched by newborn babies and my Hello Kitty underwear. Perhaps its the light hummingbird like voice that does not adequetely fulfill the requirements needed for a song like this. Instead of sounding like the passionate woman she intended to be, Chang ends up sounding a little Hilary Duff-ish monotone blare. Overall, the accompaniment seems unnecessarily crowded and overpowering – becoming center stage and casting a dark shadow upon Chang’s voice. Chang’s voice seems to quiver, as if uncertain of the next note. This uncertainty gives the song a karaoke-singer feel leaving the song sounding emotionless and lifeless.

Cold Jeans (Acoustic) – This song has probably got to be one of my favorite songs on the EP. This song, with its simple guitar backdrop and elegant melody, create a warm, sensual sound, bringing out the sweet soulfulness of Chang’s voice. This song paints pictures of love in the autumn remembered – burnt orange and fiery red leaves and crisp winds. I could soon add it to my list of songs for the soundtrack of my life. I think that this song truly captures Chang’s personality and exhibits her true talents as a songstress. The bittersweet sound of this song melts into your heart and tugs at your heartstrings. Maybe I’m just a lovesick puppy, or maybe I just appreciate a good love song – either way, I realize that this song is genuine – you can hear her pain. And for those of you that have loved and lost, or just lost…you know how much it sucks.

The Goodbye Kiss – I enjoyed this song because of its light and airy pink-colored sound. The song gives me the feeling that I’m eating strawberry Cool Whip out of the tub with my fingers, dressed in a crisp white linen sun dress while sitting on a cloud. Either that or watching the sun set slowly into hazy purple-pink mess below the edge of the velvet ocean. You have to hear it to know what I mean. On occasion I like to indulge myself in a good cry, usually by repeating heart-wrenching songs of heartbreak and neglect. Upon hearing this song, I realize that love songs have the ability to be sweet, and not reduce me to tears upon hearing the first few lines. If I’ve gained anything from this song, I suppose it is the fact that goodbyes can be bittersweet – and should be. The ups, downs and transitions in Chang’s voice and sound, although not as crisp and precise as I would like them to be, provide a uniquely personal twist embodying this bittersweetness of love. The song is elegant and well done. It is romantic without being sugar-coated and generic, and leaves one wanting more.

Note From Jailbird – Why does the intro sound so familiar? Perhaps because it is so similar to that of many rock and alternative artists out there. Even that was forgivable. But as the song progressed, I felt like I was in a bad American Idol audition. I don’t have many good things to say about this song. I do not think that it suits Chang’s voice or personal style – and this is apparent in the lack of energy, apathy, and ill-fitting sound. I feel that this song is much too “hardcore” for a woman who has a voice I have previously compared to a hummingbird. Overall, the song reminds me of a Yeah Yeah Yeahs song that has been Disney-ed up for my favorite target, Hilary Duff to sing. Unfortunately, Chang and this song, like the ugly step-sister who tried on the glass slipper…JUST DON’T FIT. I would advise Chang to do the same thing I pray Hilary Duff will do – not trying to be a musical sensation by dabbling in musical genres that are popular but ill-suited to their vocal stylings – it doesn’t matter if everyone else is doing it. Chang’s voice seems strained in the confides of this song – drowned out by the intense percussion and electric guitar rifts. Okay…is it obvious? This is my least favorite song.

Chang’s voice is slightly scratchy, limited in range and occasionally off key. Her choice of musical style also poses somewhat of a problem for me. I feel that she is experimenting with her musical options and hoping to gain recognition in each. However, I think it is best to stick to what she is good at. Smooth, sensual crooner. I do admit that these qualities make her sound a little under-developed as an artist and often times comes off as amateurish, but I like that it sounds real. I respect her for doing what she does and give her the props for doing so. The EP wasn’t the worst thing I’ve ever heard, but I expect better things from her. I hope to hear more from her in the future to see the progression of her musical maturity and fine tuning of her talent.

tina kang