Suzanne Gorman

Open Book

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Although she's nominally a country artist, Suzanne Gorman's debut album is so relentlessly adult contemporary in its sound that it makes Shania Twain and Faith Hill sound like Patsy Cline and Kitty Wells. Occasional bits of pedal steel and slide guitar in the background, and lyrics about catfish and Moon Pies ("This Side of the Riviera") do not a country album make. That said, Open Book is pleasantly inoffensive in its averageness; Gorman has a nice enough voice and her earnest soft pop tunes, heavy on the acoustic guitar and piano, have an appealing singer/songwriter vibe in the '70s sense of the term, and the weird undercurrent of self-abasement in the lyrics of songs like "You Make Me Beautiful" and "Stranger and Me" might appeal to neurotic women and the sociopathic men who pretend to love them. Overall, however, this album merely proves that not every open book is worth picking up.

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