Eleni, babe-do you mind if I call you, babe, babe?-I’ve been in this music business for decades. Once even managed Gilbert O’Sullivan, so I know what I’m talking about. And I think that you got it, kid. I first hear about you ten years ago on the Los Angeles scene, all the buzz in the world, and I think to myself, If this town can make stars of Motley Crue, it can make a star out of you.
But here we are all this time later, and you seem to have learned nothing about marketing yourself. You want to do that Fiona Apple, Aimee Mann thing-I get that. And you do that smoky, smooth Norah Jones stuff, which, as anyone in the biz can tell you, was more the Thing five years ago. If you want to sell out supper clubs on Fairfax, that’s fine, but the NPR set ain’t gonna get you platinum plaques unless your real last name is Shankar.
You know how to turn a phrase, kid, but why so coy? All the stars of today wear their hearts on their sleeves. You sing about this “Make-Out King”: “I’m so tired/ I feel like a junkie/ His hair is curly/ He drinks like nobody knows where he’s going.” I don’t get it. You like him? You don’t like him? You gotta spell it out for today’s audience.
I tell ya, you really oughta get yourself a hot, fresh backing band. You would have been perfect on Rock Star: Supernova. I don’t know who this Nels Cline fella you got playing on this album is-you say he’s with Wilco, but who knows what that means. Anyway, someone should have told him that traditional instruments and space-age lounge kerflooey are hopelessly retro. Oh, you were going for retro? It’s not my place to judge.
Look, you’re a handsome kid. I picture you on Leno. How about a skit with you and Howie Mandel, and it can be where you’re these two kooks with the same last name and some craziness like that. “Mandel or no Mandel.” Huh? Good stuff. Maybe you can even pep up one of these new songs and perform it. There are things out there more important than a great voice, timeless songs and integrity, after all. How good are you at telling jokes?