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02/12/2009 Orianthi - Believe Review
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Orianthi - News
|Orianthi - Believe Review|
|02-12-2009 10:43 | 0 comment(s)|
| If it weren't for the unfortunate death of Michael Jackson in June of this year, Greek-Australian diva Orianthi would be lighting up London's 02 Arena alongside Michael Jackson, performing guitar parts originated by the likes of Slash and Eddie Van Halen. As it is, the media attention that has been thrust upon her following the release of Jackson's rehearsal footage has seen her music get a certain degree of recognition that in all honesty, it probably wouldn't have done had Jack not passed away. And now her guitar playing is being compared to the guitar Gods she would've have been emulating on stage with Jackson on the This Is It tour. The suddenness of her fame is reflected in the fact that many music know-it-alls have reported that this is her debut album. It's not. Believe is the follow up to 2007's Violet Journey and was released last week to coincide with the release of the chart-topping film and album This Is It. But this review isn't about Michael Jackson. It's about a young girl with talent. Extraordinary talent.
For someone who has been compared to legendary guitarists such as Eddie Van Halen, Joe Satriani and Steve Vai and has been endorsed by the latter and Carlos Santana, it's really quite surprising how much of a pop record Believe actually is. After hearing all the hype surround this gorgeous 24-year old, I wasn't expecting such massive pop hooks that feature on this record, notably on tracks such as "According to You," "Believe" and "Drive Away." Indeed with song titles like those mentioned, "Feels Like Home," "Bad News" and others, you might think that this is another pop album that likes any sort of substance. And in many ways it is. But that doesn't mean they aren't fun pop songs. The girl has a pretty good voice as well, comparable to the likes of Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood, the latter of which she played behind at the Grammys last year and was subsequently offered a place in her band. There's no doubting that with the right promotion, Orianthi and her four-piece backing band could have quite the success as a pop-rock act in the same feign as Avril Lavigne and Paramore.
But what sets Orianthi apart from those type of acts is obviously the guitar playing. Her work has earned his many awards over the years. Her first ever support gig was with Steve Vai at the age of just fifteen. Vai returns a favour with this record, providing his own guitar work on the instrumental piece "Highly Strung," where the two axe-wielders go back and forth in what is an absolutely mammoth track, and honest to God Orianthi more than holds her own. She is an incredible guitarist. Whether it's in the masterful solos of "According to You," "Bad News" and others, or the soulful grooves of "Drive Away," this woman sets the standard for female guitar players everywhere. Hell, her playing is better than the fast majority of male guitarists in rock and metal, and deserves to be appreciated by as many people as possible.
Like the pop singer that she is though, Orianthi plays it safe with a seemingly average backing band behind her, and songs about typical themes such as inconsiderate men, love, loss and forgiveness. "God Only Knows" is a powerful track written in the wake of Jackson's death that encourages us to move on despite never having the chance to say goodbye, and this uplifting mantra is reflected in her thunderous guitar work. And there are a fair few duds. "Believe" has a fairly decent pop hook but it lacks the stunning guitar work present through out the rest of the album, aside from a fairly short solo. If your guitar skills are your selling point, why wouldn't you utilize them at any given opportunity?
All in all though, it's a tremendous album that uniquely combines big pop hooks with vicious guitar skills. I want to give a shout out to her drummer as well, who puts in some very impressive performances, namely on "What's It Gonna Be." It's also one of the best guitar tracks on the record, yet the accomplished drumming is still very noticeable and is really the driving force behind the track. This is a must-have for any guitar enthusiast, particularly those who like their guitarists stunningly beautiful and Greek.
Essential downloads: "According to You," "Bad News," "What's It Gonna Be," "Think Like a Man," "Highly Strung" and "God Only Knows."