Beth Lee “Waiting On You Tonight”

Independent, 2021

Some nice melodies and sweet sounds.

Waiting on You Tonight’ is Beth Lee’s debut solo album. Having had three previous studio albums released with her roots rock n roll band Beth Lee & The Breakups, Lee has toured extensively in the four years since their last release.

Waiting on You Tonight‘ is the culmination of fourteen years of work with the title track written in 2006 at the beginning of the relationship which gave her band its name. Produced by drummer Vicente Rodriguez who also works with Chuck Prophet, this album would seem to boast many influences from The Ronettes to Chrissie Hynde & The Pretenders with perhaps a touch of The Chicks and Lee’s love of sixties R & B and fifties rock n roll.

The overarching theme of the album is Lee’s struggles in a long term relationship, and as a result, there is much despair. The title song was intended as a slow waltz; however, according to Lee, “it came out of the studio as an edgy rock tune” after she and Rodriguez played around on an acoustic the night before recording. Be that as it may, it seems to fall between genres as it doesn’t stir the emotions you might expect from either a waltz or a rock tune, unfortunately. ‘Yale St and 45‘ has a nice melody but is samey and doesn’t hit the spot with any enthusiasm. There is a lovely use of double-tracked vocal in ‘Playing Along‘ and some sweet guitar sounds, but still, it is somewhat dreary. ‘I Won’t Give In‘ follows in a similar vein, although again features some excellent guitar. ‘Pens and Needles‘ ups the pace and features a broader vocal range which brings a pleasant change, but the repetitive lyric can be tedious. ‘Four Letter Name‘ is another song about dissatisfaction, where Lee’s vocal is melodic but sadly, lacks emotional depth. The leaden drum pattern and heavy use of the snare doing little to help.

Understand Me‘ is probably the best song on the album. Lee sounds excellent, and the slide & electric guitars complement the feel and mood beautifully. ‘It Was Enough‘ has a good, old-fashioned feel to it too, very much influenced by The Ronettes although it would benefit from more warmth of feeling.

Songs should move you, one way or another. Throughout this album, Lee explores various influences that suit her voice which is secure and melodic. If only the songs’ content offered more hope or happiness, or even the depths of despair, instead of being emotionally somewhat non-committal. There are some lovely sounds and musicality, but upon the whole, the album is a little monotonous and lacking in colour.

6/10
6/10

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