“The Bright Side” by Meiko

Meiko’s second track says it all; she’s in love. That’s one thing you need to know before you throw the album on. In terms of style, Meiko has stuck with what she knows and what we love her for. But, in terms of content, The Bright Side is almost a polar opposite from her debut self-titled album.

“I like the idea of putting out a lot of records that reflect what I’m going through,” she told Buzz Bands LA at  the Hotel Café in LA, where she used to bartend and still frequents, now as a performer. “My first record was a little chill and I wrote a lot of break up songs. This one is pretty happy, but who know what the future holds.”

For now, however, its clear she’s happy and ready to shout it to the world. In her song “Thinking Too Much”, she voices a common struggle: overthinking a relationship instead of simply “letting it be.” “Leave the Lights On”, her first single, stresses that urge to let everything out and reveal her secrets. “I don’t want to run away anymore,” she sings.

She doesn’t seem to be doing any running in this album. Instead, she’s taking her music in some new directions. Like a second album should, The Bright Side has this singer-songwriter experimenting with some other musical elements, boasting some electronic, R+B-pop, and jazz undertones. This may be thanks to her producers Styrofoam (a one man electronic project known for his remixes of popular songs like the Postal Service’s “Nothing’s Better”) and Jimmy Messer, who worked with Kelley Clarkson and Neon Trees. “I would send him just me playing guitar, and he would chop it up and put it to crazy, awesome music,” she said of Belgian producer Styrofoam. “So I got him to come here and we started working together.”

After writing her new material for the album, she went into an LA studio with them back in 2010. Although some of the tracks work better than others, her soft and honest voice helps bring everything together.

And regardless of whether an album is about love, break-ups, neither or both, Meiko is a prime example of someone who stays true to one’s voice. Like singer, friend, and fellow Hotel Café performer Ingrid Michaelson, she exemplifies the fact that sometimes, the simplest voice singing the simplest melody is what great music can be.

For her, it seems to be those unexpected adventures (like falling in love) that fuel the lyrics and add complexity to her music.

“Who knows what kind of gnarly shit I’ll come across, but that’s kind of the exciting part; to think about what the possibilities are in songwriting, all the crazy experiences that are bound to happen.”

Traces of electronica, a new lease on love; a lot may have changed,but in many ways Meiko has stayed the same. She still holds that naïve, wholesome sound regardless of experimenting with a new edge. Her song “Let it Go” seems to capture all the ways she strives to be and act. “Give a little heart/Give a little soul/All you have is now or never/Throw your hands up and let it go.”

Sometimes you can’t practice what you preach. But for Meiko, that struggle thankfully leads to some killer songwriting and a fresh new album.

By Kathryn Barnes

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