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Overnight Success

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Album Review

When singer/songwriter Alice Leon decided to call the Alice Project's third album Overnight Success, she was obviously being ironic — many of the lyrics talk about things like paying dues, struggling to get ahead, and coping with life's challenges and disappointments. In fact, one of the tracks is titled "Nobody Makes It Overnight"; the tune has a message that is relevant to doctors, attorneys, and computer programmers, and its message is especially relevant if, like Leon, you have the guts to pursue a career in the volatile music industry (where hard work and perseverance don't necessarily bring commercial or monetary rewards). So this CD is not about achieving overnight success and living la dolce vita — quite the contrary. Overnight Success is far from an album of feel-good escapism, and Leon tends to favor a melancholy mood on pop/rock/adult alternative gems like "Flavor of the Month," "Big Fish," and "Puke." But if Overnight Success is the Alice Project's most world-weary album, Leon doesn't advocate giving up. "It's All About Me" reflects on a man's suicide, and Leon concludes that suicide is a selfish act — Overnight Success isn't a terribly happy album, but it doesn't send out a message of hopelessness either. And true to form, Leon sings her lyrics with an abundance of feeling and provides pop/rock that is melodic and delightfully tuneful. Overnight Success detours into funk-rock territory on "I'm So Busy," which combines a Stevie Wonder-ish groove with a rock guitar and finds Leon being unusually R&B-minded. Although Traveling with Lady Berlin is the Alice Project's most essential album, Overnight Success also has a lot going for it and is easily recommended to anyone who has enjoyed the New Jersey band's previous releases.


Formed: 1997 in Princeton, NJ

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Led by East Coast singer/songwriter Alice Leon, the Alice Project is a Princeton, NJ-based band that specializes in melodic, hooky, tuneful pop/rock. Leon is not the sort of artist who goes out of her way to be abstract or difficult; her songs tend to be meaty and substantial, yet very accessible and easy to absorb. Leon's influences -- either direct or indirect -- range from Carole King, Carly Simon, and the Beatles to Edie Brickell & New Bohemians, Sheryl Crow, and former Til Tuesday singer turned...
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