Megan Slankard is the antithesis of the modern day pop star. No million dollar stage show. No choreography. She's not working on perfecting her makeup technique. She isn't making avant-garde public appearances. Rather, Slankard is one of the most organic females growing in the present musical landscape.
Slankard hails from San Francisco, Calif. Seeing The Beatles' film, "Help," as a child spurred a lifelong quest to be a working musician. At 18, her self-produced first album caught the attention of Dire Straits' co-founder David Knopfler. Knopfler invited Slankard to be his tour's supporting act, jump-starting her career. After a 2004 appearance on the TLC television show, "What Not To Wear," her second album, "Freaky Little Story," received a dramatic online sales boost. Now 27, Slankard, in her fierce self-reliance, has sold more than 25,000 albums and has managed to keep out of the subservient major label recording industry.
The third full-length release from Megan Slankard, "A Token of the Wreckage," will be available March 5. An exploration of the implications of entering full-on adulthood, Slankard says the album has a theme of "trying to find out who you are after you've left your childhood behind you."
Slankard blatantly addresses the quick passage of years in "The Happy Birthday" and "The Pain of Growing Up." Oftentimes, it is more of an underlying topic. Many of her lyrics tend to be intentionally ambiguous, leaving her songs open for interpretation.
"A Token of the Wreckage" takes a few listens to grow into, as Slankard musical approach is contrary to the majority of mainstream artists that regularly barrage our ears. Her style could be considered "smart rock," but not in the horn-rimmed glasses sense. This connotation comes from Slankard's well-read, intelligent lyricism and her use of complex harmonies.
Slankard cites a number of influences, from Simon & Garfunkel to Prince and even Metallica, but she is most similar to other strong-minded female singer-songwriters. Slankard bears a musical and even physical resemblance to Joni Mitchell and Ricki Lee Jones. Regardless, she has a respectable individuality bred out of original talent.
With freedom of outside pressures, Megan Slankard retained her personal integrity and has advanced her songwriting and musicianship on her own means. As an independent artist, Slankard has been able to dictate the course of her career. One of her goals with "A Token of the Wreckage" is to garner more national airplay and attention. The shiny pop song, "Our Little Secret," is the most approachable to adult contemporary audiences. The captivating, but less hurried title track also has potential.
Those that pick up "A Token of the Wreckage" will be rewarded with an expressive and well-thought out album. Megan Slankard's image and showmanship has improved considerably over time, but has always been second to her music. This comes through Slankard's realization that her music will outlast everything else.
The impulsive pop music machine churns out songs that are thrown together in a matter of hours and are quickly digested and soon forgotten. Less often are listeners taking their time and fully enjoying the full composition of an artist. Megan Slankard's "A Token of the Wreckage" bucks the standard. In not rushing the cultivation of her final product, she allowed it a deeper creative development. "A Token of the Wreckage" does not offer instant gratification. Instead, it is best suited for those willing to chew on their music for a while.
Megan Slankard is online at http://www.meganslankard.com.