Charlotte Sometimes: Waves and the Both of Us

Bar none the sauciest pop record released this year, the songs on Waves and the Both of Us, the debut by 20-year-old Charlotte Sometimes (name taken from the book and not the Cure song, thank you) are deceptively complex. The airy, hook-laden melodies flow innocently enough, but the lyrics are thick with sex, jealousy and contempt, like Natalie Imbruglia singing songs from Jagged Little Pill. The title track, for example, sounds like a prom theme, until Charlotte instructs her subject, “I take off your shirt /You pull up my skirt,” then informs him that he “better slide into me.” Now take into account the slick, within-an-edge-of-its-life production by S*A*M and Sluggo (with some much-needed assistance from Jack Joseph Puig, a.k.a. The Man with the Golden Ears), and you have a record whose mind is very much at odds with its body. Unless, of course, they’re targeting oversexed teenagers, in which case they hit the bulls-eye. As contemporary pop records go, this is definitely smarter and catchier than the usual drivel, but pray your daughter doesn’t hear it until she turns 25. (Geffen)

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