Growing, Pains

by: Billie Myers

When Desmond Child produced an album in the 1980s and early to mid-'90s, one could expect a big, clean, glossy sound (sometimes too clean) and an abundance of radio-friendly pop/rock hooks. And that definitely held true in 1997, when the studio giant (best known for his work with Bon Jovi) produced Billie Myers' Growing, Pains. But despite its excessive slickness and commercial leanings, this is an often impressive album that has a lot of heart. The British singer's passion and soulfulness come through loud and clear on this collection of mostly pop/rock slow burners, and her vocal style (a combination of Chrissie Hynde and Tracy Chapman with traces of Joan Armatrading and Joni Mitchell) never fails to be attractive. Although the folk element associated with Chapman and Mitchell isn't that prominent, their influence definitely asserts itself in Myers' intonation and phrasing. Universal was obviously hoping that Growing, Pains would be a big seller, but gratefully, commercial considerations didn't smother or overwhelm the promising young artist, who was 27 when the CD came out. ~ Alex Henderson

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