Bijou Phillips

I'd Rather Eat Glass

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Before she had even recorded a note, Bijou Phillips was notorious among certain quarters of the rock world as the wild child of John Phillips. She gained fame as a hard-partying model and paramour of Evan Dando, plus she had a reckless sexuality -- all the makings of a pop star, to be sure. Hence, the birth of Bijou Phillips the recording artist and her debut album, I'd Rather Eat Glass. Arriving in 1999 after years of female dominance in the pop charts, I'd Rather Eat Glass summarizes all the sounds and styles of post-alternative female pop in a way, from Alanis to Jewel to Natalie Imbruglia. Like Alanis, she teams with an older craftsman -- this time it's former Talking Head Jerry Harrison, who earned his post-grunge stripes by producing Live's hit Throwing Copper. Harrison has always been a savvy producer, and his skills have not abandoned him here. He's hired an impressive list of supporting musicians -- including many new wave refugees, such as Eric Bazilian & Bernie Worrell and P.J. Harvey/Tom Waits colleague Joe Gore; Howard Jones and Luscious Jackson's Jill Cunniff served as co-songwriters for Phillips -- all in the name of creating a sparkling, radio-ready modern pop record. It often feels as if Phillips and Harrison are gunning for the charts instead of forging a distinctive musical style. There are hints of folk, funk, trip-hop, and guitar-fueled hard rockers -- something for everybody. Each of these works pretty well on their own terms, but it plays like a collection of tracks, not as a cohesive album. As such, it does have its share of highlights -- such as Cunniff's collaboration "Mermaid and the Earthman" or "I Owe You" -- and it does showcase Phillips' surprisingly versatile, throaty voice quite well, but it never quite gels into something that transcends the sum of its parts.

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