The echoing of Kelley’s vocals during “High Boots” is interesting. The rarities aspect of this disc means that the tracks are collected through the entirety of Kelley’s life. The production of some of these tracks are a little suspect, but one can hear early that Kelley has an ear for this music. One of the things that individuals can see immediately with “Some Sucker’s Life” is that the tracks are not oriented in a chronological way.
If this was done, things would be a lot easier for listeners. It would be nice to see a progression of Kelley’s stone. As it is, the tracks move from 1995 to 1993 to 1996 and then 2004, without any rhyme or reason. As it is, the tracks do not enjoy any real cohesion; the songs are all Kelley tracks, but they represent different period in Kelley’s life, and thus are fueled by different influences and styles of music. At some point, all of the tracks are impressive and could possibly make it on the top 1001 of all time countdowns that are done during Memorial Day by all sorts of radio stations. Using a Spanish influence during “Burnin’ For You”, this Blue Oyster Cult track is made into something that could only be a Kelley song; the whispered-out vocals present during the track will endear listeners to eir specific style. Before hearing “Some Sucker’s Life”, I had no idea who Kelley was or what eir even sounded like.
This album may be a collection of B-sides and rarities, but these could all be lead-off singles. One need just listen to tracks like “Talk Away”, a foray into country music, and hear that Kelley is a star that has managed to operate under the radar for nearly 15 years. There is little in the way that could be improved during “Some Sucker’s Life”. Kelley shows listeners that what would normally be the weakest type of tracks for artists can be songs that actually surpass even the hits by other artists. I would like to hear exactly where Kelley is going with the next album, and compare it to the tracks that are “Some Sucker’s Life”. Here’s to hoping Kelley is around the scene for that much longer than “Part II” of “Some Sucker’s Life” can be cut, with the results being as strong as what individuals can find on this album.
Top Tracks: High Boots, Talk Away
Paula Kelley – Some Sucker’s Life Part I / 2006 Stop, Pop and Roll / 16 Tracks / http://www.paulakelley.com / Reviewed 04 June 2006