Picks and Pans Review: Jamie O'Neal

UPDATED 03/07/2005 at 01:00 AM EST Originally published 03/07/2005 at 01:00 AM EST

Brave

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Reliably tuneful and vivacious, O'Neal is the singer Shania wishes she was. This CD, her second, displays that, but it also suffers from some peculiar choices of material. "Trying to Find Atlantis," for instance, comes off as sexist: "A girl trying to find a perfect man is like trying to find Atlantis." On "Somebody's Hero" she whines about unappreciated motherhood. (O'Neal had her first child, daughter Aliyah, in 2003.) The title song, with its self-help message, plays better, as a sort of understated soft-rock anthem. And the invigorating country-rocker "I Love My Life" offers both positive thinking and contagious rhythms. "Devil on the Left," about a stripper reevaluating her career choice, also gives a jolt. Being able to finesse a dull moment or two is a mark of an experienced singer. O'Neal is more than ingratiating enough to get past this disc. It's not the one people will love her for, but nobody is too likely to hold it against her either.

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