Lennon

5:30 Saturday Morning

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Lennon is, evidently, at least some rock critic's idea of a wet dream, given her extensive prerelease coverage in Rolling Stone early in 2001 before her debut, 5:30 Saturday Morning, was unleashed. Maybe it's easy to see why -- she is, after all, a teenager who not only shares a name with St. John, but she cannily fuses Alanis Morissette and Lilith Fair with a balls-out, post-industrial alt-metal attack that would sound comfortable at Ozzfest. Somebody was probably waiting for that combination (although it's hard to imagine exactly who -- a handful of teenagers, perhaps, or maybe a bunch of guys raised on NIN who harbor a secret crush on Jewel) and it is rather startling to hear, especially because there's so much awkwardness here. It truly sounds like the stumbling first effort of a talented teen trying to find her voice, but getting bogged down in her own aspirations and the misguided commercial instincts of her producers. When she turns on attitude, such as on the horrendously titled opener, "Property of Goatf***er," it's unconvincing, as are the moments that the ballads get too heavy with sentiment sediment. Those play so clumsly that they tend to hide songs like "Brake of Your Car," a surging number with an undeniable hook that shows what Lennon could do with a little more craft, a little more focus, and a lot less posturing. These are the moments that suggest she could survive past this frankly bewildering blend of bad nu-metal and singer/songwriter soul-baring.

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