Mia Doi Todd: Cosmic Ocean Ship

Mia Doi Todd
Cosmic Ocean Ship
(City Zen Records)

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The title for Mia Doi Todd’s ninth album accurately reflects the mood of the record as it conjures both the ebb and flow of an ocean tide as well as the awe-inspiring calm of a starlit night.  She expresses a nice change in sound on the opening track “Paratay,” which sets the album tone with an upbeat bossa nova rhythm and vocals. Todd’s lyrics on the song conjure images of a beautiful summer day in an exotic locale, as she sings “morning sun on the lazy beach/Waterfalls awaiting/Take a swim in the salty sea.”

The following track, “My Baby Lives in Paris,” provides some nice versatility with Mia Doi Todd channeling the sounds of 80’s folk pop. The slower paced “Under the Sun” returns again to Todd’s oceanside summer vacation theme with her singing “I am the ocean/You are the salt in the sea.” The theme is emphasized even further with the sweetly sung “Summer Lover” in which Todd again conjures up images of summer pleasantry alongside cheery pianos and guitars, singing “Come on summer/Sweet Lemonade/A skinny dipper picnic by the lake.”  She then reaches the song’s intended subject connecting her lover to the imagery of summer, singing,  “The bright sun on my skin/ feeling brand new in love with you.” Soon enough “the tide is coming and going,” she sings, realizing that their love will pass along with the ephemeralness of the seasons.

As much as Todd is undeniably gifted, with a gorgeous voice with an endlessly versatile range, I find myself feeling much the way I do when I listen to Beth Orton, wishing there was a faster tempo and a bit more darkness and grit lurking on the album. I am sure however, that for others, her ambient waves of calm are a welcome change in a world that sometimes moves much too fast.

Mia Doi Todd’s summer themed lyrics conjure up ideal settings for making the most of the last days of summer. Cosmic Ocean Ship is the perfect soundtrack for lounging beachside, cocktail in hand, as you drink up the summer sun.

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