Spotted: The Queen B straying from her Upper East Side hive and making a break for the recording studio. Certainly Blair Waldorff wouldn’t be caught dead “slumming it” in Williamsburg, but Leighton Meester may be headed to a stage near Brooklyn soon.
When she hasn’t been stealing every scene on the CW’s Gossip Girl, the dark-eyed thud-worthy Meester has been busy putting together an electro-pop album with aspirations of sounding like her influences M.I.A. and Gwen Stefani. Those are some pretty lofty goals (especially in the M.I.A. department) and if her recently leaked song, “Birthday,” (a New Republic cover) is any indication, she may want to reconsider her production team.
The song starts out strong: Her voice has a great pop aesthetic and the beat propels the song forward nicely. In fact, it would be a great tune to put the show’s “OMFG” ad campaign to — or maybe a Jenny Humphrey montage. It’s when we get to the chorus where things start to get shaky. There’s so much going on electronically and vocally, it’s hard to pick apart the good from the bad. She seems to be straining to reach notes that just shouldn’t be in her repertoire. It’s kind of Katy Perry meets Rocky Horror’s “Time Warp”. This isn’t to say it’s a total bomb — it’s actually catchy and the high point overshadow the low.
When digging up some info about Leighton’s musical past (before shorting out my computer by drooling all over my keyboard staring at her pictures) I came across a little movie she did in 2006 called, Drive Thru (with fellow Gossip Girl actor Penn Badgly) which looks so fantastically campy I have to get my hands on it immediately. The tagline alone is great: “At Hella Burger, It Won’t Be The Food That Kills You … But You’ll Wish It Did”. What part of that wouldn’t you want to watch? Ok maybe all of it, but Leighton stars as a beautiful and jaded high school student who has to face off against, Horny the Clown — a fast food mascot who is killing the people in her community including some of her friends.
The exciting part though, is that Leighton lends her voice to one of the movie’s songs, “Inside The Black,” and it is actually pretty good! In fact, I’d put my money on it that it’s the best part of the entire flick! Her rock ‘n roll prowess lends itself to songs in a lower key. Her cover of “Bette Davis Eyes” wasn’t too shabby either, even if it was a bit electro-heavy.
Someone needs to send her some Dusty Springfield, Stevie Nicks and Tracy Chapman, stat! Embrace that sexy low voice girl! Oh, and do that whole strip-tease/burlesque thing you did in the Victor/Victrola episode last year, k thanks.
When talking about her upcoming album, Meester told Canada’s eTalk, “I’m figuring out everything, so I can’t tell you too much,” which seems pretty spot-on. She also told Teen Vogue that her album won’t be “bubblegum pop”; it’ll be “edgy,” which usually is a bad sign for the poorly overused adjective. Still, there’s always room to grow musically and even if she doesn’t win any Grammys, I’ll be more than willing to watch any music videos (or awful horror flicks) Leighton puts herself into.