Powerful singer/songwriter Christina Gaudet dazzles the listener with her blend of blues and rock in the new album Manhattan Oz: A Gotham Odyssey. The way Gaudet bundles together sultry vocals with electrified guitar and drum work gives all the emotional feels – the utmost being that she rocks – in this collection of hit after hit.
While the autobiographical songs often pinpoint a particular moment in her life, or even tell the story of her family tree Manhattan Oz: A Gotham Odyssey has the universal themes of love and most importantly that home is where the heart is. A Cajun songstress and rocker, Gaudet never limits herself to the state boundaries of either New York or Louisiana – she fuses them together in this wonderful collection. These songs rock harder than I thought.
My favorite tracks include “Living It Till I Die”, “Tested By Dragons” and “New Renaissance”. “Living It Till I Die” almost has a rock opera vibe. The opening piano arrangement is classical-like, almost dainty. During the chorus, Gaudet is almost like a machine gun, pressed up against the electric guitar. She repeats ‘living it’ several times, while the guitar makes waves. At the song’s bridge, the guitar swells even more. It’s like something you would hear from Nuno Bettencourt (Extreme). How will you be remembered, Gaudet sings.
In “Tested By Dragons”, Gaudet sings of love being a game of danger. Love, love, love, she harmonizes. The electric guitar has a jet-plane stretch, with a bit more Americana-roots infused in the music bed than some of the others. Tested by dragons for the ransom of my soul, Gaudet sings with confidence and reflection. The drum work is fast and bites just as hard as the rocking guitars and throbbing bass lines. The song ends with a trickling guitar arrangement, hanging on with a fierce grip. The guitar, especially in this song, is hard to ignore.
“New Renaissance”, the closing track, has a Jefferson Airplane vibe to me. It’s a brand new world, sings Gaudet. We are the people, we come together, we have the power, she continues. The rocking music blend, just as sprite and on point as the other tracks, has such an uplifting tone, it’s hard to not want to sway and bop to the groove. What is your superpower, what is your precious gift, Gaudet sings. It’s as if she’s reminding and inspiring her listener that we all have a place. I think she’s also reminding herself, through her personal journey, that she is a mouthpiece for her generation, and she’s got words that can help people.
Dare I say it, could “New Renaissance” be a protest song? I think in many ways, yes. It’s a song that reminds the world that listeners connect with each other and we all have a place, more importantly, a voice in this world. I loved how “New Renaissance” is the ending song – it gives the listener a chance to end on an extremely high note and make something in their own life happen. It definitely lit a fire.