The Color of Silence

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If a class reunion of sorts were held for teen sensations from decades past, Tiffany might have every other guest writhing in envy thanks to The Color of Silence. The flaming red-haired pop singer has long provided the essence of embarrassing '80s musical preferences and the core of one-hit wonder teasing (though she was more of a four-hit wonder). What a surprise then that she is now a geek resurrected and reinvented. Take heed, bullies of the music world -- Tiffany was "most likely to prove us all wrong" from the very start. The Color of Silence is the Tiffany album listeners have been waiting for. It is extravagant and unbridled, spilling with good ideas molded into eclectic rock pieces and passionate pop songs and ballads. If anyone should question a Tiffany return, they need only hear "Open My Eyes," which introduces itself as a guitar-strumming ballad before exploding into one of the most flavorful and hard-edged pop choruses of 2000. She follows similar suit on "Good Enough for Me," which glistens with simple catchy charm. Intentionally or not, The Color of Silence bridges three decades of music, which is a primary factor in its appeal. Tiffany's voice itself, as immaculate and deliciously raw as it has become, is still a leak through from the '80s. Many of the femme power messages and alternative angst from the '90s scourge the album, yet every song is carried by a glossy modern 2000 production and absolutely terrific instrumentals. There are the kind of albums that sound horrible until they grow on you and you break each song down to reveal the intricacies and beauty underneath. There is a rarer kind of album which sounds great on the surface, but is not full of cliché a-b-c lyrics and arrangements either. The Color of Silence needs to be broken down but not in order to love the album, rather, to love it more. This "comeback" attempt could simply be credited with good marketing in the way it filters intelligent, poetic lyrics through the current trend in synthesized, electric pop. It is quite evident that Tiffany and her team of writers (including producer Tim Feehan) seem to have a higher goal than hitting marks on the radio station spectrum. The ballad "If Only" may be lovely and radio friendly but it is also a haunting cry for unrequited love that runs a blatant four-line course on suicidal tendency. "Piss You Off" is a track that also may not go over well with parents of young Tiffany admirers, but with all the other radiowave junk running amok, at least it has something to say. Boasting clever lyrics, it compares two lovers to hateful neighbors ("Too bad if you think I'm leaving/Who cares if you hate my dog/Maybe I'll get another/Just to piss you off") and one of the great melodies on an album filled with hooks. Tiffany reaches a targeted adult audience while keeping her lyrics toned on most of the album to appeal to all ages -- they are wholesome and deep but not baffling (There is a fine line to walk in turning self expression to pop music and at moments Tiffany has a better grasp than the Alanis Morisettes or Sarah McLachlans). The first single "I'm Not Sleeping" mixes dark melody and fun with additional vocals by rap artist Krayzie Bone. It is not a surprise that Eureka Records changed their choice in first single release (it was originally "Open My Eyes") because half the album would boast well for a single. Here is hoping that the album will do well enough to eventually release the dazzling rocker "Christening," which is downright scary when you keep in mind it was sung by the same mall girl who gave listeners "I Think We're Alone Now." Call her a mall girl now -- dare ya.

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