Imagine for a moment that singing, songwriting and performing could be executed with style and fashion without being slave to the time or trends. Imagine further, that the ability to do this came in a package that was also transcendent of time. The name to sear into memory is Nicki Gonzalez.
Moron Love, Nicki's newest release, conveys some of the many talents Gonzalez has to offer: writing intelligent Pop music that portrays her appreciation for witticism in lyrics and a desire not to patronize her audience or down play her life experience.
Singing songs that are new to your ears with the malicious intentions of leaving you dreaming of the chick that just kicked you in the balls with her unflinching sense of what's right. Nicki Gonzalez sings the definitive ass-kicking versions of songs that feel fresh and unworn yet comfortable like a favorite pair of jeans. Performing with an ease that lulls you in, the girl with the schoolgirl face and centerfold body, proves time and time again that she is as hard to stop watching as she is to stop listening to.
Nicki Gonzalez offers up the total package: unapologetically original songwriting and attention-demanding vocals delivered by a stunning beauty. Mindless music this in not... well-crafted, honed artistry this is.
Moron Love, is not only an answered prayer for those tired of blaming the trend of disposable music on the current generation, it is the culmination of what's right in the music world, the true message you have been waiting for.
Intriguing, intelligent, beguiling and honest...
...it's what you hear.
...it's what you see.
...it's what you get...
It's Nicki Gonzalez.
- Brandon Combs, Musician, The Brandon Combs Band
J. Edward Sumerau, The Metro Spirit
Built upon a foundation of lyrical talent, the first solo effort from Nicki Gonzalez is a swimming collection of powerful melodies and soothing lyrics. Entitled "Moron Love", this release speaks to the guitar loving, pop music jamming listeners anxious for a new sound. An intelligent form of pop, Gonzalez speaks to the world through a soft vocal built around complication. Within the boundaries of the compositions, she swings forward into a memorable recollection of beauty. Particular highlights found on this collection include the smooth "You Love Her", the melodic enchantment of "Accident", and the sweet lyrical mischief of "After Tonight". Wrapped around the wonderful dimensions of melody, Moron Love, holds sparkles of intrigue for all shade of interest. Gonzalez has truly created an intriguing project.
Doug Boynton, Girlsingers.org
This is smartly-written material, with themes that appear to be very personal, sometimes searingly so. Gonzalez's voice, a perfect instrument in its own right, produced by Ted Comerford and mixed by Mitch Easter - and they both do a fine job of making the band sound huge. This one is recommended!
Pico, Something Else Reviews
Gonzalez's singing style is polished and very adaptable, but no so much that she doesn't reach out to the listener. Chalk it up to all the jazz training, I suppose. So when she coos, "Don't be afraid, I'm not that mad anymore/ got it out of my system and I didn't get caught" she leaves a pregnant trace of tension lingering. Or when she pouts "I'm putting my foot down" just as soon as he hands me my clothes.", she's winking at us with grown-up wit. Gonzalez herself will tell you that all that grounding in jazz prevents her from putting out music with empty calories, even if the music itself isn't jazz. Her integrity also disallows her from all the songs sounding alike. The highlights are numerous. For those whose tastes for rock lean more toward mature, well-crafted, no-nonsense songs with a little poignancy and cleverness, Nicki Gonzalez is the fix. From the town whose best kept secret was Eva Cassidy until it was too late, here's another secret worth getting the scoop on.
Anna Maria Stjarnell, Luna Kafe
Nicki Gonzalez has a pretty intriguing take on the singer/songwriter genre on this record. She's plain speaking and touch, with a voice to match and some pretty cool songs. Opener "You Love Her" sees her take charge in a good way, as she delves into a complex relationship with gusto. "Superstar" sees her tear into a tale of dreams and ambitions with great empathy. The tune could be worthy of The Breeder at their most poppy. "On My Side" reveals a softer side, Gonzalez singing to a melody that's both plaintive and suggestive. She's a good singer and this I one of her best songs. "That Day" is a terrific song, a ballad that she handles well. Nicki Gonzalez's album's amazingly good.
John Book, This Is Book's Music
The album, originally released in 2008, shows someone who has an incredible voice and a knack for writing direct and to-the-point lyrics, revealing a side that makes the audio voyeur in us want to hear more. Vocally she sounds like a cross between Barielles and Gwen Stefani, and the first few songs sound like they would be perfect if someone wanted something similar to them. But keep on listening and by the fourth and fifth tracks you begin to hear someone coming out of a shell and into their own person, and this is where she truly shines. It's pop with a bit of rock, and she sounds like she could be a mean rocker if she wanted to, but what compliments her voice is the fact that she writes her own songs, she speaks from personal experience. One tends to be attracted to that in order to want to hear more, and I want more. Melodic, powerful music that could be lost in the shuffle due to less worthy music, but Gonzalez is an artist who not only deserves to be heard, but deserves to be making more music. Anyone who discovers her for the first time will be moved, and the world needs more music like that, so that others can move in her shadow towards finding their own light. Don't pass this up.
John M. Peters, The Boderland (Musicwatch #14)
She has the husky vocal of Sheryl Crow, but with the blues-rock ballsiness of Bonnie Raitt and Pat Benatar. Moron Love opens with You Love Her, an almost punk-thrash workout of anger issues. And "Leave" is a real old-style rocker with hooks worthy of Nick Lower during his new wave period. And the rest of the songs have a depth and emotion to them that you won't find in the output of most manufactured pop chicks. In other words, the lady has a fine set of pipes and uses them on these nine self-composed songs in many impressive ways. I've not heard of Ms. Gonzalez before but she has obviously lived the life and paid the dues to come up with songs this strong and a delivery this hard. It's interesting to note that the album is mixed by Mitch Easter, a man renowned for creating the REM sound - he also plays guitars and Hammond organ on some of the tracks - and was recorded in Raleigh, NC - REM's home turf. There's obviously something in the water there! Moron Love may be Ms. Gonzalez's solo debut album but I think it is just the first chapter of a work in progress, with many more delights to come in the future. Highly recommended!
Erik Saeger, Skope Magazine - 4 out of 5 stars
Gonzalez is cougar-bordering-on-puma old, yes; she's got a teen kid, but the year-whatever part ends there. Among the influences you'll glean from her are (in varying measure) Fiona Apple/Tori Amos ("You Love Her"), Liza Phair ("On My Side"), Amy Winehouse (the horn-riddled "Leave") and your hated Gwen Stefani ("After Tonight" and the vocoder-swathed "Insomniac"). The songs are well constructed, showcasing Gonzalez's voice, which pegs to Stefani-belting territory nearly every tune. Engineer Mitch Easter, whom you actually should know if you're all that goddamned hip, worked wonders on this, getting a big-deal sound.
Chris Spector, Midwest Record Recap, Volume 32/Number 260
If you're going to bring Mitch Easter on board, you've got our attention right away. More Alanis than Britney, Gonzalez goes for a big sounding pop that's bottomed by bracing lyrics that aren't as strident as Alanis but are no less biting. Ground zero observations on life itself, Gonzalez is on point with a contemporary pop date that goes right for the gut and hits with sharp aim. Wild stuff.
David Wilson, Wilson & Alroy Record Reviews
Singer/songwriter Gonzalez would make a good touring partner for Jana Losey, as they occupy the same niche - brash but not bratty; using cleverness to reveal, not replace, an emotional core - without sounding too similar. Gonzalez can be funny (her label is called Paxil Rose), she can be serious ("On My Side") and best of all, she can be both at the same time ("Jackie", a sly but sincere ballad). The band Gonzalez on piano and a few other things, brother Ira Gonzalez and Rob Clay dividing bass duties, Sam Clowney and Mitch Easter on guitar, and Warren Smith on drums - serves up unvarnished pop-rock with occasional frills (horns on "Leave"). Gonzalez can put together a convincing delivery, a powerhouse melody, and clever lyrics: "After Tonite" is one of the best we're-breaking-up-but-not-quite-yet numbers I've ever heard.
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