album reviews

Kate Voegele
Don't Look Away
MySpace Records (2008)

Kate Voegele is easy to pigeonhole as an artist with a teeny-bopper fan base: After all, she has signed with MySpace Records (yes, a branch of the popular social networking Web site) and is promoting her music by appearing in a multiple-episode story arc on the CW's "One Tree Hill." The 21-year-old looks like Vanessa Carlton's kid sister, and the hand-scrawled lyrics in her CD liner notes too often read like melodramatic love letters that were passed surreptitiously in class (excerpts: "You have the missing piece that I need so desperately," "I'm still in love with who I wish you were").

Set to music, though, Voegele's words sound less like those of a doe-eyed cheerleader and more like the frustrations of someone who has been burned too many times by her crush's immaturity. She sings like a gutsier Michelle Branch. Voegele's monsoonlike growl on "I Won't Disagree" sells her passion far better than any words ever could, and the simple piano ballad "Kindly Unspoken" shows off her bluesy voice alongside lyrics that keep the teen drama to a minimum.

Voegele doesn't completely overcome all of her teen-pop qualities, but she doesn't have to. She writes lovelorn songs aimed at listeners who seek out such songs of heartbreak and loneliness. That she manages to say something of interest to those outside that demographic certainly bodes well for her future.

-- Catherine P. Lewis

.: Originally published: The Washington Post: 29 February 2008, Page WE08
.: Don't Look Away on