WISELY
Wisely CD - Ella / Oglio

On his eponymous album, Willie Wisely serves up a sampler of modest slips of songs. Wisely's brand of sunny California pop proves unfailingly, unflinchingly pleasant, true, and I can imagine someone less cynical, whose heart might melt at lyrics like "Tonight, we're gonna make love and it's gonna be beautiful," but that heart would not be mine. Wisely's somewhat soulless, periodically cheesy, if well-meaning pop rhymes "mourn yah with California." (The fact that Andy Dick features in one Wisely music video tells you all you need to know.) The album's opener, "On My Way," proves the most radio-friendly track, but considering what passes for radio fodder these days, that may be damning with faint praise. There are promising moments. "Through Any Window" is a pretty, delicate song, albeit marred by cliched lyrics. "Nothing but Wind" opens with a sense of foreboding coupled to the erotic, sounding almost like a Leonard Cohen number, though it stumbles lyrically in ways that Cohen would've stepped more assuredly. With its airy refrain, the most affecting tune, "Unfamiliar," paints an impressionist picture of the way a lover eventually fades from memory. Unfortunately, not much else here affixes itself to memory either. (Robert Stribley)
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