Rick Berlin,
Me & Van Gogh
(Hi-n-Dry, 2006)

With his Brechtian melodies reminiscent of Kurt Weil, Rick Berlin would not be everyone's cup of tea. Personally, I think his music grows on you with each listen.

Me & Van Gogh is extremely theatrical with songs that almost depict characters from a play, and the meanings are more subtextual than obvious. Perhaps Rick himself identifies with tormented characters who act as an inspiration for his work. Certainly talented, Van Gogh was not what you would deem mentally stable. Calling your CD Me & Van Gogh might suggest Van Gogh was Rick's kindred spirit.

But Rick is more concerned with condition than talent. "I'm a Slut" is basically denouncing mankind and its deteriorating society, saying we are all "hos" and "sluts" at heart in this corrupted world.

Rick is not easy-listening pop and his voice is more recitative that melodious, but somehow it all works. This is poetry set to music with basic piano, which is extremely effective. Rick is an outstanding lyricist and this is just plain poignant poetry -- and is recommended listening.

by Risa Duff
14 October 2006

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