Julian Moon    Good Girl     Warner Bros.

Do you remember that short-lived era in the nineties when the ladies of Lilith Fair ruled the world? Julian Moon is an acoustic pop singer/songwriter that reminds me fondly of that era. Hailing from Salt Lake City, Utah, Moon is a sweet-voiced, sharp-tongued, dynamo that reminds me of the lyrically raw early works of Jewel, Sam Phillips, and Suzanne Vega as filtered through the musically inspiring early sound of Sheryl Crow and Lisa Loeb. Good Girl is Moon’s debut album and is produced by Greg Wells (Adele, Katy Perry).

Julian Moon does a lot of things really well on her debut album. She dabbles in jangly pop (“Good Girl”), funky jams (“Just Go With It” and to a lesser degree “Rebound”), and slickly produced balladry (“The Fault in Our Stars” and “How You Break  Heart”) while staying perfectly balanced on the singer/songwriter line. For me, the best moments come from the singer/songwriter side and I attribute that to her unique voice.

There are a number of standout tracks here.  “A Cup of Coffee,” which is just Moon and her guitar lamenting their job at a coffee shop with rude customers (I think I have been to that Starbucks by the way) and dropping some nicely placed f bombs along the way. “Popularity” which is on its way to sounding as inspired as mid-career Ani Difranco but loses its punch a little due to the tight production. “2 AM” is a beautiful ballad that puts Moon’s voice front and center amidst a semi-ambient backdrop. Of course the title track’s sugary pop declaration that a “good girl’s a bad girl that hasn’t been caught” is perfectly set to a bouncy backdrop that reminds me a lot of Lisa Loeb and Sheryl Crow’s debuts. That’s never a bad thing.

Good Girl is one of the first true surprises of 2015 for me. A month ago, Moon wasn’t even on my radar and now I can’t stop listening. This is probably the most impressed I have been with a female artist since Paula Cole’s This Fire (an album I have listened to at least weekly since it debuted).

Reviewed by Mark Fisher

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