Videos by American Songwriter
Love Don’t Make You Juliet
[Rating: 3 stars]
Tired of pinup girl album covers, San Francisco-based singer/songwriter Brandi Shearer decided to try something different. On the cover of Love Don’t Make You Juliet, she has a black eye and she’s still ready to fight, defiantly pointing her taped-up fists our way. But her latest disc doesn’t contain any songs that come close to punk rock or heavy metal. Instead you’ll find her signature jazzy blues ballads alongside a couple of Strat-infused burners. So, just what is this classically trained guitarist fighting for?
Aside from the fight to get Juliet made on her own record label, Shearer is fighting for the “losers” and the “freaks,” or those Americans labeled “eco-nerds” and “whiners” by the Bush administration. On “Losers & Freaks,” ominous electric guitars and drums accompany Shearer, sounding PJ Harvey-esque, as she calls for the world to be remade. Another bluesy rocker, “When You Wake Up,” features a menacing banjo, percussive claps and electric guitar, as Shearer vows to track someone down and “open [their] eyes.”
Craig Street (Norah Jones, John Legend) produced this record and the majority of the tunes display Shearer’s soulful Norah Jones side. Opener “Night Singing Bird” and “I Just Want You to Love Me” are as melodious as they sound, but it’s the darker tracks like the piano-laden “I Don’t Love You,” the primal “Animal,” and the electric “Livewire,” where Shearer’s sultry, sometimes Fiona Apple-sounding voice emerges.