The Book Reviewer aka The Music Reviewer (www.thebookreviewer.ca
Plastic Wonderland, the incredible Gina Nemo.
Byline: The Book Reviewer aka The Music Reviewer (www.thebookreviewer.ca)
“that’s what little girls are made of ..”
- Old Country Rhyme
An incredible eclectic mix of alternative and pop rock songs with a classic jazz standard (written by her famous father Henry Nemo), tucked in at the end, this music is girl rock at its best.
Plastic Wonderland is Gina Nemo’s first music album originally released in 1999. Gina Nemo is a Hollywood child star, noted for her role in “21 Jump Street” who is also a musician,
songwriter, poet, writer, public relations maven, television/film producer. I have previously reviewed two books of poetry, Strings and Scarlet for Gina Nemo, and the
music CD: Cicada, released in 2014.
This music is a celebration in modern alternative rock fusion, some of the songs reminiscent of later Beatles’ influences and others in rockabilly not unlike Ricky Nelson.
The lyrics read like a girl’s confessional, the bare soul of love on love, love conflicted, love lost, girl in heartache writing tunes. These are big romance songs, a girl
and her band on the American wire.
One of my favourite songs is “I’m Looking Through You” a sweet and dark rain ballad that plays in your thoughts and on. This song is a piano rock ballad, with
a brilliant melody line not unlike “The Cold November Rain” by Guns and Roses. “Call her an angel from the sidewalk/ Call her anything you want/ Call her an angel
from the gutter/ and let her bleed upon your tongue”.
Also, “Without You” the most fantastic melody hook, perhaps the New Age rock/country music hook of the century. “I can’t be without you”. “I Know” has a sweet melodic electric guitar
lick, “you say you don’t believe me but I know/ and I know your smile tastes like death ..” the mix of heartache poetry riffs with sweet melody lines. As if painting a picture of a
love affair in Americana, “I needed you” plays with rockabilly influences, “I pleaded with you/ but you just gave me a dance/ because I was crazy for you/ it makes me want to cry ..”
with a beautiful new fashion/old fashioned lilt for the last line.
In “Dreamer”, “Plastic Wonderland”, “I Don’t Believe in You”, “Strawberry Lady” you can hear the influences of Beatle’s psychedelia, particularly reminiscent of Sarjeant Pepper’s
Lonely Hearts Club Band. “Plastic Wonderland”, “just give me one reason you do the things you do/ the distance in my eyes, getting harder to read between the lines”
“I Don’t Believe in You” has a sweet melodic bass line, quiet, quiet and sweet that blows into rock electronica, “I don’t believe in hell/ I don’t believe in all the things you do.”
“Smell the Roses” has a hard rock guitar wale, not unlike the style of Heart with Ann and Nancy Wilson. The hard spaces of lovelife North America “I want to make you break/
and bring you to your knees ..”
For mood music, “Breaking Down” paints the picture of the end of a love affair in a black and white Americana photograph, a girl sitting in a diner drinking a cup of coffee,
probably alone, the rain outside, maybe talking on the phone. “you’re watching shadows on the wall/ when nothing seems the same/ with all the dirty rain/ I’m breaking down/
so that I can be alone/ I can be alone/ I can be alone/ o’ yah/ o’ yah/ I’m sorry too.”
“All That Water” is sweet and warm like Summer rain, it plays in warm with a quiet synthesizer. “you took away my soul/ rain against the wind that I cling to . . . “
The last song is a classic jazz standard written by her father, Henry Nemo, “Don’t Take Your Love From Me.” I picture the girl in a piano bar with a fireplace, dressed in a
little black dress, languid on a baby grand, perfect with a red rose. A little bit black, a little bit blue and reminiscent of the ‘40’s as if foreseeing the end of World
War II when the world was the magic after hard times. The music classic jazz, in perfect voice intonations, beautiful.
The influence of classic jazz standards in the background, perhaps Gershwin and her famous father Henry Nemo, the lyric lines are original in poetic treatise.
Yet very post-modern in the angst of conflicted lovelife North America, some velvet rose that knows the wind and the rain. The beautiful melody riffs, in guitar,
synthesizer and piano. A fantastical mix of jazz, country and rock/pop influences in that incredible Nemo style, that incredible Nemo magic,
Plastic Wonderland by Gina Nemo.