Bern It’s Not You, It’s Me

[Highland Studio/Self-Released; 2004]

Rating: 4/5

Styles: pop vocals, indie pop
Others: Tori Amos, P.J. Harvey, Ani Difranco

When it comes to female pop vocals, many will agree that the genre is diluted with a mixture of incredibly talented artists that completely shy away from contemporary status. Such is the case with highly artistic and gifted performers like Tori Amos, Ani Difranco, and P.J. Harvey. Their musical path has seldom changed throughout their careers, yet each one has been able to convey an overabundant passion for the music they create. And frankly, that passion is the reason why they have become so successful throughout the years.

Bern is an up-and-coming songster from New Jersey. Much like Tori Amos and P.J. Harvey, her music resonates with passion and enthusiasm. In 2002, Bern released a 4-track demo titled Jazz Blues Street Punk that exemplified her musical strength. Built on slow moving melodies and compassionate musicianship, Bern displayed and unleashed her mesmerizing and attention-grabbing vocals. In fact, the only downfall of the demo was its poor production. Nevertheless, in 2004, Bern has released her debut album, titled It's Not You, It's Me, and what becomes immediately evident is the improved production of the record.

With this progress, Bern's vocals desperately, yet effectively become the focus and the center of the record. Her vocals shine and stand out on tracks like "Young and Wise" and "China," two tracks that appear on the previous 4-track demo. But this record improves and develops on tracks like "Under My Skirt," where the accompanied acoustic guitar creates tension and nervousness. Much is the same on the vicious and compelling acoustic romp "Some of Us" and on "In Memory," where the soft and subtle piano reverberates empathy and highlights Bern's trembling voice. The album showcases musical accompaniments that help aid her vocal delivery. Even though a few songs appear slightly unpolished, the record is filled with a tremendous amount of positive energy, exemplified on songs like "Pressure" and "The Great Escape."

Bern's debut is a great pop record. Filled with an abundance of melodies and inventive compositions, she has assembled an enjoyable and fulfilling record. Ultimately, what remains true and recognizable from beginning to end of this record is the promising vocal delivery and performance of Bern and her commitment and passion to the music. And at the end of the day, that is what makes this record so fascinating and impressive.

For anyone interested in purchasing this record, please contact Highland Studio at

1. Under These Waves
2. Young and Wise
3. Under My Skirt
4. Tarnished
5. China
6. In Memory
7. September
8. Protection
9. Wheels of our heads
10. The Great Escape
11. Some of Us
12. Pressure