Boomkat – A Million Trillion Stars

boomkat a million trillion stars

Written By: Heather Wysocki

Label: Self-Released – Rating:

Betty Boop, Billie Holiday, and Beyonce walk into a bar…

Sounds like the beginning of some off-color construction worker’s joke, or perhaps like the weirdest feminist convention ever held. But the combination of Boop’s sexy come-ons, Holiday’s smoky-voiced grief, and Sasha Fierce’s don’t-rely-on-a-man independence is exactly what Taryn Manning, the voice behind Boomkat, personifies on “A Million Trillion Stars.”

A combination of brilliantly mixed music and Manning’s Britney-with-a-cold, raspy vocals, “A Million Trillion Stars” is the chronicle of a woman scorned but ready to party, grief and gloom and gin-fueled partying all rolled into one.

Taryn Manning, the girl best known for driving around in a convertible with Britney Spears in “Crossroads,” pimping it up with Terrence Howard in “Hustle N’ Flow” and pissing off Eminem in “8 Mile,” has created the sort of album that actress-musicians can usually only dream of: a good one. Her two-shots-of-whiskey-and-a-cigarette voice is the perfect match to her brother Kellin’s expert beats, the sort of pop-rock double threat that knocks one-note musicians like Lady Gaga down to the bottom of the Billboard charts.

Kicking off with the ‘70s porn-funk beats of “Dregged in Grief” and continuing with violin-fueled “Fall On Me,” Kellin Manning shows no fear in mixing his Pro Tools expertise with influential beats of the past, tearing through synth-heavy pop and djembe-based rockers with equal aplomb.

Just as clear is his sister’s hardened heart, which infuses each and every song – even the ones that would be more at home on the dance floor than in a darkened bedroom – with post-, or maybe during-, breakup heartache, a potent mix of hating a guy and hating that he left her first.
Alternately, Taryn’s wishing she could see into her dude’s head and wishing there was a blunt object around to crush it in response to his cheating ways.
Get this girl a Red Bull and vodka, stat!

Primitive beats and heavy sampling show up in standouts “Not My Fault” and “Elated.” The problem comes, though, when Ms. Manning can’t decide whether to continue along her bluesy Boop-meets-Billie path or to wander off onto the jangling pop road of Mrs. Jay Z as in “Don’t Be So Shy” and unfortunate first single “Run Boy (Here I Come),” a white-girl rap-pop horror where she’s barely saved from embarrassment by Kellin’s perfect backing.

Musically, the mix of baby-making music and baby-I’m-so-lonely lyrics is disconcerting, but Kellin’s so expert at matching his sister’s vocals that it’s mostly easy to ignore.

What’s entirely impossible to overlook is the total lack of original lyrics, as made evident by liberal use of Songwrriting for Dummies-esque lines like “I’m on fire with desire” and “I cry myself to sleep.” It’s unfortunate, because Taryn’s voice could get away with stronger, sadder words, and make ‘em all believable.

Consistently choosing mope-by-the-window feeling songs over weak dance-away-the-pain ones would’ve solidified Taryn’s place as an actress who could actually make music, and Kellin’s fabulous beats don’t need justification.

For now, though, Boomkat will have to be content with creating the halfway-to-perfect “A Million Trillion Stars,” an album chock-full of all the feelings that every jilted girlfriend has felt put to gorgeously expressed music.

Hopefully, though, the girls who identify with this express their feelings less cheesily.


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