Music Review: Alexa Ray Joel, "Notice Me" CD Single
Release Date: July 13, 2010
Label: Audio Bee
· Official Site
by Paul Schultz
Published: December 27, 2011
Daddy's little angel is about to turn twenty-six years old. The angel in question is Alexa Ray Joel, making her daddy musician Billy Joel and mommy supermodel Christie Brinkley. It's been a while since elder Joel sang the tender "Lullabye (Goodnight, My Angel)" to his child (1994 to be exact) and that little girl has come a long way in her journey to forge her own musical identity apart from her famous father.
It was only natural that she would take up classical piano training early in life, but the skill didn't come naturally and at times young Alexa would rebel. Still, that foundation made writing music -- a craft she found more intuitive -- an easier endeavor and one that would lead her to assemble a band in 2005 at age 19 and display her talent to a scrutinizing public.
A six-song EP, Sketches, came out in 2006 and I recall her doing a show in Madison, Wisconsin, in support of it. I expected to hear more from the young lady, but there was no more new music to be had until the traditional jazz-blues influenced "For All My Days" appeared in 2008. Then it wouldn't be until later the next year that "Invisible," a piano-driven ballad about a bad breakup, would be seen.
The end of that romantic relationship contributed to Alexa attempting to kill the pain (if not herself) on December 5, 2009 by ingesting a quantity of Traumeel, a homeopathic alternative to ibuprofen. Calling that incident "heartbreak-related depression," she got her act together and released the bouncy and lighthearted "Notice Me," ostensibly the lead single from an album titled All I Can Do that has yet to see the light of day.
"Well, I guess it would be nice if I could
touch your body..." Alexa Ray Joel has faith
that you will "notice me" not with music styled
after her daddy, but from George Michael.
"Notice Me" finds Alexa in a frisky mood, with an opening guitar riff straight out of George Michael's "Faith." In girlish voice, she lets the listener know she is all grown up ("I was once a girl and now I am a young woman/I’ve blossomed and I’ve sprung with all my might"). However, she perhaps overestimates her charms in her quest to be noticed (“I can light up a room now/I can write a good tune now/I can be most popular if it were high school”).
Next, she showcases a bawdy streak by inviting her lover to engage in something that would "make my dad wanna ground me, honey." And I don't think she's talking about Santa Claus when she suggests, “Do you fancy when I’m near?/I can bounce on your knee, dear/Whatever you like, I plan to do it on top.” Check out the equally naughty music video in case you're still wondering at her meaning.
Some true colors show through toward the end, when the repetitious "notice me" chorus fails to elicit the desired result, and she resorts to profanely asking, "Why you bein’ such a dick about it?" The hand claps and George Michael homage end abruptly with a coy little "oh, it’s over?"
One can't help but wonder just from the title if "Notice Me" is simply the cry of a woman still struggling to emerge from the shadow of her talented father. This verdict can't necessarily be overturned, yet the song really comes off as just a coquettish frivolity. It's catchy and fun, reminiscent of a time when the love between a back street guy and his uptown girl caused her very existence.