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Alecia Elliott

I'm Diggin' It – 2000 (MCA Nashville)

Reviewed by Eli Messinger

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CDs by Alecia Elliott

Alecia Elliott's debut makes one wonder: what does the "Nashville" in "MCA Nashville" stand for? Attached to a Vince Gill or Lee Ann Womack release, it would indicate country music, but in this case it signifies little more than which branch of MCA is promoting the project. The songs, production, packaging and promotion (including a down-loadable dance mix from the ironically named twangthis.com) do little to distinguish this record as having been recorded in, or produced by, Nashville.

This is pleasant, cookie-cutter pop, with hackneyed rock guitar solos and only the merest wisps of twang in a passing pedal steel guitar or fiddle. At 16, Elliott's surprisingly mature voice is more reminiscent of Fiona Apple than a country urchin. And though her timbre might match the spirit of songs like Matraca Berg's "Some People Fall, Some People Fly," her delivery can't capture the experience of Berg herself. The ballad "I'm Waiting For You," with its surging, emotional chorus, sounds like it came from the N Sync songbook, and "You Wanna What?" (an Elliott co-write) with its coy spoken asides, is junior-league Shania Twain.

Elliott's a talented vocalist, but what she's chosen (or been given) to sing is perfectly forgettable and nearly free of country influence.