Today's female pop star seems so willing to play the victim, handing over control of her life to the closest boy around. She's quick to admit that he is her sole source of stability (Ashlee Simpson, "Pieces of Me"), that the mere thought of him makes her unable to breathe (Liz Phair, "Why Can't I?"), or that his multiple personas leave her confused (Avril Lavigne, "Complicated").
In a refreshing change of pace, singer-songwriter Aslyn takes charge of her own emotions on her debut album, "Lemon Love," a collection of up-tempo songs that oozes confidence and self-awareness.
Aslyn combines the gruff texture of Nelly Furtado's voice with Lavigne's melodic attitude -- but with no trace of teenage superficiality. On "Be the Girl," she sings, "I'm not here to be around / And be that girl that you forget about." She remains in charge in "Gotta Get Over You," where she cleverly describes why she's not ready to move on from a relationship.
With training in classical piano, Aslyn plays with an aggressive style that takes more from Billy Joel's repetitive poundings than the airy plinkings of Tori Amos. And while "Lemon Love" is slickly rounded out by a full band, it's Aslyn's keyboard that drives such songs as the the passionate "493-1023" and the bouncy "Rainbow."
-Catherine P. Lewis