Safe in Sound
First Appeared in The Music Box, July 2005, Volume 12, #7
Written by T.J. Simon
Philadelphia’s Jim Boggia specializes in acoustic rock in the tradition of The Beatles, del Amitri, and Squeeze. On his sophomore effort Safe in Sound, he delivers a dozen decent songs in desperate need of some stronger hooks. On the rocker Underground, he tells the story of the revolutionary Weather Underground with a guest appearance from MC5 guitarist Wayne Kramer. Aimee Mann co-wrote the unremarkable opening track Shine, and she lends her often remarkable guest vocals to Where’s the Party, a song depicting an urban, hipster, cocaine scene. Mann’s talents are a welcome addition to any album, but one wishes she had joined this party on a stronger track.
Boggia’s new material is eclipsed by the strength of Safe in Sound’s finest moment: the Elvis Costello-inspired Made Me So Happy. The song is a joyous burst of musical energy that is well-supported by guest vocalist Jill Sobule. Outside of this selection, the best track is the Beatles-influenced Talk About the Weather, which gives the listener a glimpse of Boggia’s considerable capabilities when he’s on his game. On Slowly, he tries to milk Beach Boys-style harmonies out of his eight-track recorder, but the lame underlying song betrays the cool production. Finally, the disc’s wasted "bonus" track is the sound of rain falling, which endlessly continues for nearly six minutes until it is interrupted by a payoff that ultimately goes nowhere.
While there’s nothing of monumental brilliance contained on Safe in Sound, there is nothing here that is terribly awful either. With a good voice, a solid body of influences, and impeccable technical skills, Boggia clearly is capable of delivering so much more, and this only adds to the frustration of listening to this standard, run-of-the-mill, adult contemporary pop effort.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2005 The Music Box