Monday, February 9, 2009

Vitamin C: Witty Pop for Your Music Diet

Colleen Fitzpatrick is no stranger to musical classification with her start was in the power pop outfit Eve's Plum. From 1992 through 1995 two records were cut, Envy and Cherry Alive. Inexplicably, Eve's Plum never caught on and the group drifted apart. Fitzpatrick  resurfaced in 1999 with her solo record Vitamin C, bearing the same name herself. Ten years later, unless you were immediately immersed in the last few gasps of 1999's and early 2000's pop, Vitamin C will be nothing more than a byproduct of citrus. Both Vitamin C and More (2001) have held up in the ensuing years and deserve a second look.

Vitamin C (1999)
John Deutsch and Garry Hughes worked together over Fitzpatrick's fizzy debut. Likely to be remembered for the reggae splash "Smile" and sentimental "Graduation (Friends Forever)," these tracks don't belie the sly attitude of the remaining album work. A furious concoction that included new wave, hip-hop, pop, dance, and R&B laced by Fitzpatrick's beguiling wisp made for punchy pop bliss.

"Me, Myself, & I," the forgotten single, was a tango-tart that complimented "Not That of Kind of Girl," a nod to Fitzpatrick's Eve's Plum roots in its rock blusto. Fitzpatrick at her best can be found on the French intelli-seduction "Girls Against Boys." Several sexually charged jams rounded out the album in "About Last Night" and "Fear of Flying."  Both songs made no bones about their bedroom mindset.  On the strength of the mentioned "Class of 2000" anthem "Graduation," Vitamin C won platinum victory in the U.S.

More (2001)
More beat back the sophomore slump by bringing in the same production unit from Vitamin C. Opening with the electrified "The Itch,"  Fitzpatrick blended influences from Blondie, Madonna, and The Go-Go's. Fitzpatrick gave further face to her teenage idols with a kicking version of The Waitresses "I Know What Boys Like." Fitzpatrick's cover featured a strobe-lit disco dipped middle.

Finer feelings were extolled on the bell-tolling epic "Dangerous Girl," vocoder ridden "She Talks About Love," and the hazy mood of "Sex Has Come Between Us." The embraceable and heartfelt "Special" softened disappointments on More, like the heavy handed "Real Life" and "Busted."

More, a confusing commercial failure, was cohesive enough that it built on Fitzpatrick's previous LP if not outmatching its original wit. Fitzpatrick returned in 2002 with her striking rendition of The Strokes "Last Nite" with interpolations of Blondie's gem "Heart of Glass." It managed to scrape into the U.K. Singles Chart (#75). The lukewarm reception cost her ties with U.K. based V2 Records label. Since that time rumors swirled of Vitamin C working on a new effort. Now independent and free, one hopes that Vitamin C returns to brighten our days with her creative energy. I know I'm waiting.-QH

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