Michele Brourman: The Price of Love

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Michele Brourman

The Price of Love

(Fingerfood Music 2018)

July 9, 2018

Reviewed by Alix Cohen for Cabaret Scenes

Michele Brourman is an adept pianist, a good composer, and a talented vocalist. Some of the songs on this CD are stories, but most are like haikus, glimpses, mood settings. This can be frustrating. More often than not, we’re left wondering, now what happens?

“Let’s Order In” is a sultry, rhythmic, noir mambo with jazz backend and kittenish vocal tone. Musically then, lyrically now. Very cool.

“When there’s a storm on my horizon/When I see lightning cross my bough/There are three small prayers that get me through/Help, Thanks, Wow.” (lyrics: Amanda McBroom) is mid-tempo, articulate, with bright jazz piano and guitar. Eminently wise. This should be embroidered on pillows, printed on bumper stickers. People who know what the three words signify might create a secret handshake.

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“Mary Said No” (lyrics: McBroom) is, to my mind, the CD’s highlight. “Mary said ‘no’/Mary said ‘please’/Threw herself down/On her trembling knees.” This beautifully arranged, rather stunningly perceived song suggests the initial reaction of Jesus’ mother-to-be was to protect “her” boy from unnecessary suffering. Needless to say, the visiting angel presents argument. The song is both poignant and original. Vocal is full of feeling.

“And I You” (lyrics: Sally Mayes) sways easy as a Sunday in pajamas, fond as a smile across the room, warm as a head in your lap. A charming, unfussy love song, eloquent and nimble, with a swell, resonant guitar. “We Can Let It Go” is two drinks or three into getting rid of his stuff; deciding whether to rip the photo in half or keep it in a bottom drawer.

A hip-swingin’, boot-kickin-up-dust song, “Consolation Price,” arrives with bull’s-eye vocal/genre attitude. Brourman gets it like a country girl. In the same two-step vein, but lyrically urbane, “You’re Only Old Once” (lyrics: McBroom) is a genuine hoot. Really, the only way to keep grooving past a certain age is humor and this is first class, grade-A irony. “There’s no cure for lust/But there’s a shot for singles…and forget the affronts/They’re a waste of precious time/And you’re only old once.

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Were the word “paws” not used, despite reference to her pet, “This Is the Price of Love” (lyrics: Robin Brourman Mason) might easily refer to a partner or child. Its lovely, hummable melody is appealing, sentiment universal. Soft-edged vocal and blue strings support.

“Orange Blossoms,” “Buttercup Moon,” and “London in the Rain” (lyrics: McBroom) are painterly. In “Moon,” piano sighs, strings butter below. If it grew up to be a song, this would be a solitary, soulful ballad. “London” is wistful, foggy. While the mistral-like music and yearning vocal for “Indian Boy” (lyrics: Karen Gottlieb) is evocative, lyrics are awkward and confusing.

All unattributed lyrics are Michele Brourman.

Alix Cohen

Alix Cohen’s writing began with poetry, segued into lyrics then took a commercial detour. She now authors pieces about culture/the arts, including reviews and features. A diehard proponent of cabaret, she’s also a theater aficionado, a voting member of Drama Desk, The Drama League and of The NY Press Club in addition to MAC. Currently, Alix writes for Cabaret Scenes, Theater Pizzazz and Woman Around Town. Additional pieces have been published by The New York Post, The National Observer’s Playground Magazine, Pasadena Magazine and Times Square Chronicles. Alix is the recipient of six New York Press Club Awards.