Maggie Kim, Lesson 1.5

Maggie Kim, Lesson 1.5

Though on Lesson 1.5, Maggie Kim claims artistic geniuses like Missy Elliott, Prince, Beck and PJ Harvey as her heroes, her actual closest analogue is more likely Christina Aguilera: a marginally talented also-ran who is more famous for her outlandish fashion sense than her music, although it’s much less likely that even Kim’s fashion sense will make much of a difference.

It’s not that Kim’s music is poorly made; it’s that the scope of it is so sadly limited that it cannot possibly make any impression other than faceless professionalism. So, far from attempting to find a novel, meaningful way to say anything at all, she wears her brazen desire for fame like a badge, so much that her own press materials describe her music as “formulaic” and “commercial.”

They fail to mention creatively sterile — Lesson 1.5‘s best song is unequivocally a cover of Prince’s silly “Raspberry Beret”; “2 Drinks In” extensively quotes the Ukrainian Bell Carol for no apparent reason; “White Girl,” which boasts the record’s only moments of innovation (a direct address to Missy Elliott and Dr. Dre) and restraint (the fact that this address is thankfully not delivered as a rap), is marred by a chorus that shamelessly rips off “Gangsta’s Paradise” by Coolio; and finally, Kim for some reason has decided that the world needs another song entitled “Stay.” Hmmm…on closer examination, I see that the song in question is actually entitled “Just Stay.” I suppose I stand corrected.

When Kim claims that “her ultimate goal is to change what pop music looks and sounds like,” the irony is so thick that you could cut it with a knife. Unbeknownst to her, the latter is clearly an impossibility, since her pandering nondescriptness is exactly the problem with popular music today. The former, as reference to her Asian heritage, is a lot more likely, I suppose, Kim having made inroads to success both commercial, by winning Jane Magazine‘s music contest, and independent, by performing at South By Southwest. Should she become the first Asian star, though, she will have done it by being as much like everyone else as possible.

(self-released; Maggie Kim --

Review by . Review posted Saturday, October 1st, 2005. Filed under Reviews.

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