Doing this review is the first time I've heard anything by Max Sharam. In fact, up until I started doing a little research for this review, I had no idea she was Australian. But then, hers isn't exactly the kind of music I'm likely to seek out.
Listening to A Million Year Girl, and despite its apparent success when it was released in 1995, the only tracks I recognised, apart from the cover of Melanie's Lay Down, was the single Coma and even then, my recognition was vague at best, kind of like I'd heard it in the background a number of times but was never moved enough to find out who it was.
While not offensive, this is still how I feel about this album - nice and innocuous in the background but containing nothing at all that excites me.
VERDICT: TURN IT DOWN
Two songs into Million Year Girl and I was about to call it a Forgotten Gem. But it didn't sparkle as much as I'd thought.
Max has an amazing voice, capable of the hugest swoops and slides, and she doesn't do any of that nauseating twiddling that it seems every R&B diva has to do these days. Have I said that before? Probably. Sorry if I'm getting repetitive.
Anyway, I love the first half of the album, with Be Firm and Coma leading it out strongly. Purple Flowers always reminds me of Sydney in springtime, when the jacaranda blossoms in every second backyard. Her rendering of Lay Down (Candles in the Rain) is another lovely sing-along, and I was amazed at her version of Is it Okay if I Call You Mine? when this album came out, because I thought I was the only person who even knew about that gorgeous song from Fame. Jezu's Jewellery and Hunting Ground are OK, but the rest of the album's a bit of a loss.
I have seen her perform live, well before this album was released, doing her semi-regular gig at Kinselas, an inner-Sydney bar I frequented in the early 90s. She did a version of Minnie Riperton's Loving You that silenced the room, because when she got to that high falsetto bit (it's about 0:56 on that video) she didn't even try to sing it, she just SCREAMED. Priceless.
VERDICT: TURN IT UP then down...
For more information: http://www.maxsharam.com/