CD Review: Amy Heffernan, Friggin Little Know it All

It's pretty crowded at the female pop star pageant lately, with a range of contestants on the runway: emo-girls like Christina Perri, glitter princesses like Ke$ha, and avant pop divas like Gaga have carved out their audiences, and seem poised to crowd out any newcomers.

And then along comes Amy Heffernan, a scrappy little singer-songwriter out of Alberta (by way of L.A.) with her new snarkily titled album Friggin Little Know It All.

I like her.

Most of Heffernan's songs sound like they're meant to be played beneath a sitcom about six urban singles in their late 20s (ok, maybe mid-30s) who are out there living life!, the kind of tunes that would inspire any group of friends to jump into a downtown fountain together or burst into a hipster bar, having the time of their lives as we watch and feel less cool.

That's ok with me. I wouldn't mind being in the sitcom that plays Heffernan's music in the background.

Heffernan seems to be diving head first into Angry Chick Pop: Some of the album's songs have titles like "Ignorant Pig" and "Crap," and are predictably about women who've had it up to here with idiot men. Others are Screw-You bar anthems like "Being Awesome" ("Not checking my hair or fixing my makeup / if I looked any hotter I'd be hooking up with your boyfriend"). Pretty sugary, faux-angry stuff: edgy lyrics, but upbeat melodies, to the point of redundancy. At times, the songs start to sound a little one-note: bitter(ish) music meant to illicit feminine fist pumping in the car at the beginning of a Girl's Night Out.

And yet... I listened to the entire album twice on repeat the other day. I sort of couldn't help myself.

Heffernan's music is undeniably hook-driven and compulsively easy on the ears. Her voice is both supple and gravelly; her attitude both optimistic and a little dirty.

There's a gloss of overproduction to this album, a sense of each song being just a little too prettily assembled, but Heffernan's voice pierces through the extra shininess that too much studio time can sometimes provoke, carrying an attractive grittiness to it. I'm pretty sure that her songs would sound better performed live, in a dive bar at 2 AM. Until she decides to tour in your neck of the woods, though, listening to Friggin Little Know It All on repeat will have to suffice. I say do it.

To find out more about Amy Heffernan, visit her official site, follow her on Twitter, like her on Facebook, or follow her MySpace page.

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