Vitamin C: More

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Album: More
Label: Elektra

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Perhaps no musician better reflected the ever-shifting pop-cultural climate of the '90s than the artist formerly known as Colleen Fitzpatrick. At the height of the Alternative Nation's stranglehold on the public imagination, Fitzpatrick recorded a pair of indifferently received albums as the bratty lead singer of Eve's Plum, an archetypal college-rock mediocrity whose biggest claim to fame was a cameo in John Singleton's hilariously misguided 1995 college drama Higher Learning. Following the demise of Eve's Plum, Fitzgerald reinvented herself as featherweight, midriff-baring pop vixen Vitamin C just in time to capture a pop-hungry pubescent audience less interested in heavy guitar riffs than in infectious ear candy, preferably created by cynical Swedish songwriters or former members of Full Force. The move reaped huge benefits commercially, scoring C a hit album, her own doll, her own shade of lipstick, and movie roles (Wes Craven Presents Dracula 2000, Da Hip Hop Witch). The success of her self-titled debut was bolstered by a pair of hit singles, each as ruthlessly, efficiently calculated as her makeover: "Smile," a hypnotically inane bit of reggae-lite that found its calling as a commercial jingle, and "Graduation," a shamelessly sentimental, unfortunately ubiquitous ode to friendship. C has described More as more adult than her debut, and while no one is likely to mistake her for Serge Gainsbourg, it does draw on far more respectable sources than those of her TRL peers, leavening her trademark sound with disco, new wave, and electronica. At her best, C sounds like an American, more mercenary version of Saint Etienne's lead singer, Sarah Cracknell, as she lowers her already-thin voice into a breathy, evocative whisper. More's best song, "Dangerous Girl," suggests what Saint Etienne might sound like if its songs obsessed over baggy-pants-sporting hip-hop roughnecks, while "She Talks About Love" wouldn't sound out of place on the group's Tiger Bay. Elsewhere, C wraps her voice around slinky synthesizers on "Busted" and follows her debut's Split Enz cover with a sterile take on The Waitresses' "I Know What Boys Like." For all its promise, much of More's remainder flounders, bogged down by songs like the leaden would-be anthem "Where's The Party" and "The Itch," an amorphous mass of breathy vocals, suggestive lyrics, and electronic flourishes desperately in search of a melody. C hasn't quite arrived creatively, but More's strong moments suggest that she's at least on the right track.

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