Released Date: June, 9, 2009
Reviewed by Evelyn Miska
It may initially seem odd that Aimee Allen’s solo release, A Little Happiness, came out of a break up with her long-time boyfriend and a random gang assault that left her with memory loss, post-traumatic stress disorder and the possibility she’d never be able to sing again. While such an event might have squashed the ambitions and outlook of a lesser person, it actually allowed Allen to explore some new approaches to music. Unlike some of her previous work, A Little Happiness is a much calmer, simpler album. However, just because it is simple in nature does not mean that it isn’t good, in fact, the album is excellent and a pleasure to listen to from start to finish.
Much of the album has a clear reggae influence and that is immediately apparent on “Change In Weather.” There is no doubt that the track is one of those “kissing a relationship goodbye” type songs, but there is enough grit in Allen’s vocals to make it invigorating rather than sappy. “Save Me” is gentler in its style but the power is still there in the lyrics. It is a good example of how Allen is capable of shifting from one style to another with ease and sound good across the board.
For the most part, the tracks on A Little Happiness are all Allen’s creation, but there is a gem of a cover about halfway through when Allen takes on Sublime’s “Santeria.” Even though her accompaniment is little more than a ukelele and it is incredibly stripped down when compared to the version most people know, the song is excellent. Sure, there are those lines describing violence that seem oddly juxtoaposed with Allen’s delicate voice such as “I won’t think twice to stick that barrel straight down Sancho’s throat,” but that hardly matters. The song will get stuck in your head and you’ll find yourself listening to it repeatedly.
“Silence is Violence” is a much darker track than most of the others on the aptly named A Little Happiness, but that doesn’t diminish the strenght of the song. That reggae beat sneaks back in, although it is subtle, and even if it isn’t the sunniest of songs, it has good strength. For that upbeat feel, the album’s title track is sure to please. Again, the light guitar melody balancing Allen’s vocals makes for a nice combination and, for an added treat, the lyrics aren’t too shabby either.
It seems odd in some ways that such an excellent album could come out of a physical attack, but that’s exactly what happened here. Allen’s songs are strong, occasionally self-depricating but not too much so, and show some good variety. It is an easy album to listen to and very enjoyable with a lot of excellent tracks.