"I’m just making you mixtapes with homemade covers. Analog to show we’re lovers."
Tift Merritt's See You on the Moon starts with one of my favorite songs of 2010, "Mixtape." Like finding a rare B-side, I'm disappointed I haven't heard (or recognized) anything by her before. Anyone who also has a soft spot for stripped-down, acoustic-based productions knows that so much of what you find in the traditional singer-songwriter genre is overly sentimental, low energy, wistful four-chord tracks. It's a genre ripe with hollow vocals and seasonal affective disorder ("SAD").
See You on the Moon definitely has a few SAD songs (::ahem:: "The Things that Everybody Does," "Papercut," and the title track ::ahem::). There are definitely a few times when, if you're not paying careful attention, you don't even notice that the tracks have changed. But tracks like "Six More Days of Rain" - infused with the energy of something from Springsteen - and "Engine to Turn" are like bright, grey-skied mornings: crisp, fresh moments you enjoy reliving. There's even a little rock and roll in "Live Till You Die." And, honestly, even when the energy dips, the album manages to be delicate without being the worst kind of fragile. This isn't one of those albums from which each track makes it to your iPod; it won't drown out passing traffic on your way to work. But it's smart, and it's warm, and that's enough.