Lisa Loeb's debut, Tails, failed to deliver on the promise of her first single, "Stay," drifting into generic alt-pop territory when it should have played up her lilting, melodic soft side. Firecracker, her second record, suffers from similar flaws, although in many ways it's a better album. For starters, it's considerably more eclectic, with a varied, textured production ranging from jangly folk-pop and pounding rockers to lush pop. However, variety isn't always the spice of life -- instead of sounding accomplished, Loeb simply sounds unfocused. Still, there are a number of strong moments on the record that confirm Loeb is a talented melodicist when pushed -- but if she wants to make a great record, she simply needs a little more direction.
by Stephen Thomas Erlewine