Mieka Pauley - The Science of Making Choices
Record Label: Self-released via Pledge Music
Release Date: June 26, 2012
The International Songwriting Competition (ISC) is a Nashville-based songwriting contest that has helped launch the careers of Kasey Chambers, Catie Curtis and Gin Wigmore, to name a few. One of this year's finalists is Brooklyn singer-songwriter Mieka Pauley. Her song, "Never $%#@ a Woman That You Don't Love," which is a finalist, is also arguably one of 2012's top 10 songs. Pauley though is no stranger to accolades, to date she has won the grand prize in Cosmpolitan's Star Launch, the grand prize in the New York Songwriters Circle Songwriting Competition and the top prize in the Starbucks Emerging Artist Competition. Whether or not Pauley wins the ISC competition remains to be seen, but if her album The Science of Making Choices is any indication, Pauley is most assuredly destined for success.
Be it the gauzy opener "Another Go," or the nocturnal and saturnine, "First Stone," The Science of Making Choices is awash in first-rate musicianship and top-notch songwriting. Raised in Appalachia among many other places, Pauley still has an affinity for the Blue Ridge foothills and the stirring "Whiskey is the Devil, Daughter," points to that.
Unfiltered, unabashedly honest and loaded with courage, Pauley goes places few other songwriters do. Take for instance, the opening lines of album standout "Wreck." Opening with a bluesy piano riff the song snakes along as Pauley sings, "I wanna wreck your home, I wanna get your husband alone." And so it begins, her hearty, soulful vocals unravel and with just her confidence and swagger, she absolutely nails it.
If the disc has any drawbacks, it suffers from a lack of pacing. That is to say, all 11 of the songs are slow-burners, and that at times can make for a challenging listening experience. With the exception of the funky, should-be second single "We're All Gonna Die," the second half is one delicate ballad after the other. But talent is talent and Pauley is in a class all by herself. Nowhere is that more apparent then on "Marked Man," in which her voice rises like a siren and never lets up. There is a power and gravity at work here that soars above the rest of the female singer-songwriter crop.
The true power of The Science of Making Choices is that the disc is only her sophomore release. This is important because Pauley writes songs that belie her age and lack of studio experience. It also means she has a lot more to offer the world, and that, can only be a blessing. While her debut Elijah, Drop Your Gun was strong, The Science of Making Choices is even stronger. Whether or not "Never $@!^ a Woman You Don't Love," wins the ISC's top prize remains to be seen, but one thing is for certain, Pauley doesn't need a prize to prove her talent. One listen to The Science of Making Choices says enough.