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Music Review: Priscilla Ahn's Debut Underwhelms

Priscilla Ahn, "A Good Day" (Blue Note)

The debut release from singer-songwriter Priscilla Ahn is sweet _ so sweet it will leave your teeth aching.

Musically, "A Good Day" is interesting. Ahn has the voice of an angel, she's backed by a strong band and the cleanly produced CD makes for a pleasant enough listen. But lyrically, Ahn has a long way to go. The 24-year-old sounds like a high school girl when she sings about being afraid of the dark in "Leave the Light On," or staying "wallflower friends forever till the end" in "Wallflower." The pinnacle of silliness, though, is reached in "Masters in China" when Ahn describes a lover with lines like "the tongue of an angel floats in red wine saliva." To be fair, that's one of the few tracks not penned by Ahn herself. The strongest track is "Red Cape," which attempts to tell a story, but falls short and ends up a series of non-sequiturs.

According to Blue Note, her record label, Ahn left her home in small-town Pennsylvania shortly after graduating high school and headed to Los Angeles to make a name for herself as a singer-songwriter. Label-mate Amos Lee heard her sing and her debut was born. She's one of a very few Asian-American women in pop music and that fact alone could make her stand out. But unless she starts singing someone else's songs, she's destined to remain nothing more than background music.

CHECK THIS TRACK OUT: In the disc's opening track, "Dream," Ahn sings convincingly about the joys of childhood. Her pure voice matches the music _ and the material _ perfectly and it's not at all cloying.