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The Trouble With Success or How You Fit Into the World

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Album Review

The Trouble With Success or How You Fit into the World finds ex-Drop Nineteens/Boy Wonder vocal darling Paula Kelley moving beyond the cute factors of her Nothing/Everything debut for a divine pop effort. She and musician Eric Matthews craft a sophisticated set that's both classic in Baroque pop and indie pop to showcase Kelley's lovely imagination. It's a daring move. Going for Burt Bacharach-like stylings without it all sounding contrived is a task; however, Kelley succeeds. Joining her is a backing section of nearly 40 musicians known as the PK Orchestra. Each song is bright in instrumental color and spirit and Kelley's angelic, girlish vocals leave you swooning. Basically, The Trouble With Success... can be anyone's autobiographical tale of fighting fit and Kelley's storybook of "My Finest Hour" experiences the many waves of personal introspection. "How Many Times" is a wonderful ballad dressed in acoustic guitars and violins for one of the album's shinier occasions. "I'd Fall in Love" gushes about the obvious with a glorious horn section for Kelley's best Carole King moment. It won't take long to realize that The Trouble With Success... is one of those albums that's thankful for pop music while flattering it at the same time. Kelley doesn't lose sight of that. She has achieved her "finest hour" on this one.


Genre: Pop

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Former frontwoman of Boston indie pop bands Drop Nineteens, Boy Wonder, and Hot Rod, not to mention a sometime member of the Bee Gees tribute band the Boy Joys, Paula Kelley is a genuine pure pop auteur who is not in need of bandmates to confirm her considerable talents. In the process, she has emerged as an impressively versatile songwriter, conversant in the various strains of indie pop, bubblegum, and twee pop. Turning her love of the Pixies and Carole King into an ear for creating hybrid sounds,...
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The Trouble With Success or How You Fit Into the World, Paula Kelley
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