Miranda Lee Richards | Light of X
Most Likely To: define the egregious genre of “Montage Rock.”
Halfway through “Breathless,” the first song on Miranda Lee Richards’ new album, Light of X, she sings a lyric that raised my eyebrow upon first listen. In the lilting voice of a songbird, slathered in reverb and cresting above the cliched country-tinged-adult-contemporary guitar riffery, she encouraged the listener to “elevate yourself to a higher plane, but don’t look down, you’ll only scare yourself.”
Holding back the bile that rose in my throat, I fought the urge to stop the disc immediately and scour its memory by playing Slayer at full volume for a few hours and forged ahead. Not ten seconds later, Miranda Lee Richards sang “Before I met you, my life was a series of chances,” and I thought the cast of some medical drama was going to burst through my wall like a pitcher of Kool-Aid in a dazzling shower of awkward emotional gesturing and force me through a blitzkreig of hugging and sideways glances to reckon with my daddy issues.
I made it (several times!) through the entire record, but by track 3, the upbeat “Savorin’ Your Smile”, I knew for sure that I wasn’t listening to a woman named Miranda Lee Richards sing-vomiting the worst sort of lovesick platitudes. I was the victim of basic Scooby-Doo-style trickery. No way would any self-respecting human sing about life and love using phrases that were obviously lifted from glittery bumper stickers.
If I had the resources to buy a shit-ton of LSD and a talking dog, I would gas up the “Mystery Machine” and rumble out to Hollywood to track down the thing that sang these songs (represented on the MLR website by a quasi-sexy woman in various gauzy sundresses at play in fields of poppies adjacent to run-down train yards). Once found and cornered, I would tug at its mask to reveal the presumably ghastly visage of a WB music programmer, reeking of AXE cologne and rubbery iPod accessories inside his Miranda Lee Richards fleshsuit.
“You’re not Miranda Lee Richards!”
“Your songs are horrible.”
“No they’re not. These are songs that real people can relate to. These are songs that echo the simple emotional lives of the 24-35 demographic. It did well in the focus group. These songs work well when used in montages, especially the ones used at the end of television dramas to sum up the emotional state of the characters.”
“But most of your lyrics were lifted directly from glittery bumper stickers that they sell in vending machines at Thai restaurants.”
“Well, you figured it out. Shit. It’s just that I’m trying to build this beach house… and I would have gotten away with it, too, if it weren’t for you, you shaggy old indie-rock wash-up.”
And then me and the talking dog would get some chicken and waffles and listen to Slayer all the way back to Denver.
Listen to “Early November” by Miranda Lee Richards: