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Pillar of Stone
Blockpane Records

It’s hardly fair to compare a modern artist to Paula Abdul’s early-nineties albums, but Joelle does bring them inescapably to mind. There something about the combination of songs on her album, Pillar of Stone, that reminds me of an adolescence spent bopping around to a mix of angry-girl rants and sweet-girl ballads. When you’re eleven, that’s how love seems to be: half the time the boy is whacking you on the arm in class and then ignoring you, half the time he’s winning you a teddy bear at the school carnival. Are you pissed off? Are you sentimental? It could go either way.

These feelings are reflected in Joelle’s mix as well, although her lyrics are a little naughtier than Paula’s were back in the day: “Give it to me what you do /I’m dripping wet /Just watching you,” she sings to her fella – that is, when she’s not yelling at him. Most of the songs are high energy dance tunes; the layered tracks of Joelle’s throaty voice come at you from all directions, gyrating on a platform of bass and heavy drums.

She does lean towards anger, albeit catchy anger. Apart from “Tongue-Tied,” most of her songs seem to be directed at a man who done her wrong. In “In Your Dreams,” she snits “Go buy a copy of Halo 3, I’ll stay committed while you live your dreams.” Go, girl. Clearly, I’m not the only woman who has known the love of a non-committal geek.

Overall, Pillar of Stone is a rocking testament to the power girls have over themselves. It’s the perfect album to put on when you’re in a rage over your boyfriend’s latest screw-up, so slam it on the stereo and dance your pain out, sister. I promise you’ll feel better than fine in no time.

Favorite Track: Track 6, “In Your Dreams”

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Kris Larson works as a freelance journalist in San Francisco. She has a degree in English Literature from San Francisco State but has so far managed to remain out of the food service industry. You can visit her website at
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