The Girl Next Door

Artist: Crystal Bernard
Listenability Scale: 54%
Released by: Entertainment One
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

Crystal Bernard. Most of you know her most from her role as Helen on the TV show "Wings," but I’ll bet most of you might not know she can sing, and I’m told she directs videos as well. For this little article I guess we’ll leave her acting and directing careers alone and concentrate on her singing/songwriting, and the fact that she has a country CD out called "The Girl Next Door."

As I listened to this CD over and over again, I couldn’t really figure out what I didn’t like about it. The songs weren’t bad, granted the prevailing theme of most of "The Girl Next Door" has to do with getting your heart broken, and I did find myself humming along as the songs became more familiar. Then, one day I was driving in my car after a really rotten day and listening to the CD and it hits me – it’s not the songs, it’s not the fact that most of them conjure up some memories of old girlfriends, but it’s the fact that after "Could Have Been Mine" you get socked with four sad love songs in a row. Let me tell you, if you’ve had a bad day or just got out of a rotten relationship that little stretch of music just makes you want to head to your nearest bar and drown your sorrows in a bottle of whiskey. So, what did I do? I put the CD player on shuffle play and found that the CD isn’t half bad.

As far as country music CD’s go, it’s no groundbreaking effort, but I think it might just be a great start for Crystal. Good songs, easy to listen to (if on shuffle play), but for me there just isn’t that one song that I want to hear over and over again. Two things did surprise me about this CD. One was that she co-wrote nearly half the songs on the CD, and two, she has a great voice, and I think that over time she might be able to leave the TV show for a career in country music, just not yet.

Back to that songwriting thing because right now that’s actually striking a chord. As I listened a couple of times, I was curious as to what I thought were the better tracks on the CD and whether she helped in the writing. Another surprise for me – I liked all of the tracks she got some credit for writing a lot more than just about every other song. From my favorite track, the up-beat "State of Mind" to the sappy (that’s a compliment, believe it or not) "If You Have Love," I’m starting to find my disappointment of the CD in the fact that she had to pull in songs from other folks. Not that they’re bad songs, it’s just that I think hers were better. Really, the only song that strikes me that wasn’t co-penned by Crystal is "You’re Gonna Miss A Whole Lotta Love" credited to Dennis Morgan and Stephen Allen Davis.

So, what do you get for your CD spending dollar if you buy "The Girl Next Door." Well, first off, you get a CD filled with a lot of broken-heart songs, with a pretty equal split of up-tempo vs. slower-sappy songs. Just be sure to hit the "shuffle"/"random" button on your CD player or you better be reaching for the bottle because tracks 3 through 6 will have your head spinning wondering why he/she left you. It’s a tough call, and I really recommend hitting the listening station for the CD and jump around the CD before shelling out the bucks. It’s a good CD, especially the songs Crystal helped write, but in all honesty, I didn’t care for most of the other songs. On the Entertainment Ave! listenability scale I give "The Girl Next Door" from Crystal Bernard a 50%. And if you’re wondering how I got 50% on a CD with 13 songs, well, I didn’t count the cute little intro with a four year old Crystal singing. Alright, fine, it was cute so we’ll bump it up to 54%.

That’s it for this one – I’m The Dude on the Right! L8R!