Sunday, May 30, 2010

Megan & Liz Striking My 6th Sense

In the week that's gone by since my last post, so many things have happened. Among them, the great Ronnie James Dio, singer for Black Sabbath (in their later years after Ozzy), Heaven and Hell and Dio, sadly died of stomach cancer. Let there be a moment of silence, for the world has lost one of the most amazing artists to ever come forth from metal. Dio will be sorely missed, and his devil horns will live forever in rock tradition.
But let's move to something more positive; something that will lift us up from sadness to amazed acknowledgment of brilliant talent. In the same way that Meg & Dia blew my mind just a couple of years ago when I saw them open for Bowling for Soup, so too this duo is poised to break out onto the acoustic-pop scene with grace and gusto.
Megan & Liz are two talented-beyond-belief twins from Michigan, who for one irrational reason or another are not yet signed to any major label. Listening to the music these girls have up on their Myspace, though, there is a big part of me that wonders if it's even because a label hasn't taken notice. With the raw talent that clearly pours from these sisters, the artist in me says, 'well why do they even need a record label?' They're garnering thousands of hits all on their own, and I'd be amazed if some of their songs didn't go viral.
While Megan provides the majority of the instrumental structure with her skills on the piano and guitar, both she and Liz share songwriting responsibilities and credit, as well as both contributing vocals to the flawless pop arrangements. The talent these girls have is only further exemplified by the intertwining of their individual talents to create a tapestry of color and sound. In fact, their song title "Images Acoustic" seems more like an adjective describing their song-structure and melody than a title for a particular song.
With that, though, let's dive in, so I can show you precisely why these girls got my nod of amazed approval this week.
The first track that's on their Myspace setlist, and the first one I listen to, is "Maybe, Possibly." The song rests seamlessly on a soft acoustic chord progression provided by Megan as she and Liz wrap me in their twin, yet not-merely-interchangeable, voices. As one girl goes up, the other harmonizes and the result is a pop-song that would make Brittany Spears cry because it kicks "...Baby One More Time" in every sense, from style and structure, to performance and execution. As Megan (or Liz, lol, because I can't tell them apart just by their voices) fades in, Liz (or maybe Megan) fades out just slightly; just enough to give the song a surround-sound feeling. This is a simple song. And that's most certainly a compliment. Megan and Liz have taken the simple pop song and simplified it further: just a guitar and two girls who can sing their hearts out. Most definitely the best song I could start with.
The second song I listen to is "6th Sense." One of the things that I love about this song right from the beginning is the driving guitar rhythm that Megan delivers as she and Liz chime in and out, and the voices move so quickly that it's impossible to keep track. That, however, is the beauty in it. I'm so unable to keep up that I get lost in the music, and as the melody bleeds from the speakers, is seeps into and sticks in my ears as clever lyrics rest on the syrupy voices of the twins. One of the other things that makes Megan & Liz different from so many other pop acts out there, and one thing this song certainly benefits from, is a recurring set of lucid, intelligible lyrics. So many pop songs are filled with lyrics about someone's ass, or a fast car, but these make me think deeper, and the wordplay is something that makes the song all that more enjoyable. Absolutely a five-star track if there ever was one. Brilliant.
The last couple songs I'll spoil you guys with here are "Images Acoustic" and "The End." Images Acoustic" is for all intents and purposes the perfect pop song. So rarely have I seen a pop or acoustic act able to make use of the Pixies' loud-quiet-loud dynamic with just a guitar and vocals, but here Megan and Liz do it without even thinking about it. The guitar is a little quite during the verses, but blasts off in melody and feeling as it climbs into the chorus. The change is just sent further into the stratosphere by the crescendo of crashing voices from both Megan and Liz, building on each other to deliver a song that is unforgettable. This will definitely be the song that you can't shake for the next week, and certainly the song you won't want to. The minor bridge in the middle gives the song a twinge of philosophical feeling, before wrapping with the voices of both girls lying perfectly with the guitar notes. One of my new favorite songs.
The latter of the last two, "The End," is the first one I hear where Megan has opted for a piano over a guitar, and after listening to it, I'm glad she did. With ivory notes that serenade as her voice mixes with Liz's, Megan delivers an instrumental track that is short, sweet, and the no-brainer pick for any romance movie soundtrack. There is absolutely nothing I could think of to make this song any better: if you listen to this and can't see why it's raw talent personified, then there's just nothing you can be taught about music.
At first glance, these girls might seem the typical rip-off of an act like Miley Cyrus or Aly & AJ, but after listening to any one of their songs, that thought should be banished from your head. Now I'm not so much a fan of Miley Cyrus or Aly & AJ, though I'm sure they are all quite talented. But what I see here in Megan & Liz is a raw talent that has not been refined by a major record company: this is pure talent and emotion, and the bottom line is, if these girls can do this with no help at all, then it seems to me that the idea of the major record company is obsolete. Maybe, maybe not. Maybe I'm just running my mouth at this point. That's a definite possibility. But my point stands firm: Megan & Liz are the next pop-rock act poised for a viral takeover of the acoustic underground. Mark my words, these girls are gonna be huge.

Sounds Like: Meg & Dia, Vanessa Carlton,, Tegan and Sarah, Michelle Branch, Aly & AJ

Key Tracks: "Images Acoustic," "6th Sense," "Maybe, Possibly," "The End"

Check out Megan & Liz more at: and!/pages/Megan-and-Liz/71493558675?ref=ts

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