The Power of One

There are a lot artists who try as you and they might, never really grab ya. Then there are those who made one single that for some odd reason touched you. No, not there! In the heart or the head or some combination of both. Most are pop artists. And most of these one track wonders fall into the category of the "guilty pleasure."

In listening to what seems like 50 different new reissues of older music for the December issue of Stereophile, or what I'm calling the "Reissue Issue," I ran across Postcards From East Oceanside a Rhino best-of that gathered Paula Cole's work from the three records she did back in that misty time known as the late 1990's.

Listening to "I Am So Ordinary" I remembered being snowed in, in New Hamster (Live, Freeze or Die) and listening to that tune's melodic sweep and her powerful voice and putting down whatever I was doing, (most likely thawing drinking water or breaking up furniture to burn as firewood) to grab the CD booklet and listen. The poet's eye present in one set of lyrics grabbed me. While her later singles, most notably "I Don’t Want To Wait" (better known as the theme to the Dawson's Creek TV show) are what she's known for, I think the desolate "I Am So Ordinary," is the Paula Cole tune to have. In this slightly vicious, slightly self-pitying number, the speaker—which given the amount of personal detail, has got to be Cole—finds herself playing second fiddle to a more glamorous rival. It's this couplet that hooked me: "She is your Queen Cleopatra and I am your morning after/She is your "Star–Spangled Banner" and I am just your…(sung in a whisper) "Frre Jacques".

What can I say? Those who have no tolerance for cheese of any kind in their musical tastes, are just not listening properly.